In The Spotlight

Hayden Siler

Hayden and family

Hayden Siler, 8, who has CF, is a skilled abstract artist who uses her talents to raise awareness and funds to help support the search for a cure. She is pictured here with her father, Ryan, brother, Ian, and mother, Alyssa.

Hayden Siler might look like your average third grader — the 8-year-old likes to dance and loves being a big sister. Deep in her heart, though, Hayden is an artist.

For nearly two years, Hayden, who has cystic fibrosis, has created one-of-a-kind abstract paintings, which she sells at auctions and art shows to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“I get really excited when people buy my paintings. Sometimes I jump up and down,” Hayden said. “When people buy the paintings, I know they are helping me and kids like me.”

To date, she has sold 17 works and has raised more than $6,500 to help support the search for a cure.

Talented Beyond Her Age

According to Hayden, it takes “20-something” minutes to create each piece—which is nothing compared to the amount of time she must spend on treatments just to stay healthy. Every day, Hayden completes an hour-and-a-half of breathing therapies and takes dozens of pills to help clear her lungs of thick, sticky mucus.

“Doing my treatments is annoying, but if I don’t do them, I’ll get sick,” Hayden said, adding, “I’d rather be painting.”

Hayden Collaboration piece

Hayden collaborated with former NBA star Desmond Mason on the piece shown here. It later sold for $2,500, and all funds went to support the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Hayden’s work has caught the attention of numerous professional artists in the Oklahoma City area, including former NBA star Desmond Mason. Mason opened a studio and gallery in Oklahoma after retiring from professional sports, and has shown his work all over the country. Hayden and Desmond collaborated on a piece that later sold for $2,500.

Hayden says learning from artists like Mason has helped her discover new techniques.

“Sometimes I use a spatula. Sometimes I get a bucket of water and dump it on the painting, then let the paint run,” Hayden said. “I like trying new things when I paint.”

Determined To Make A Difference

Hayden’s mom Alyssa said she’s proud of Hayden for following her dreams and for showing compassion to so many in the CF community.

“It was all Hayden’s idea to have a fundraiser centered on her art,” Hayden’s mom, Alyssa, explained. “It’s become her mission to help find a cure. It’s a lot for an 8-year-old to do, but she’s determined.”

It is the same feeling of determination that drove Alyssa to get in touch with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation when Hayden was first diagnosed. “When the doctors told me that CF is a life-shortening disease, something in me snapped,” she recalled. “I wasn’t going to accept a shortened life for my daughter. I knew then that I needed to be part of finding a cure.”

She and her husband immediately contacted the Oklahoma Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to ask how she could get involved. Today, they consider the chapter’s staff part of their family.

“Because of the Foundation, my husband and I know we have the power to change the course of this disease, and give our daughter a real future,” Alyssa said. “I think Hayden knows that, too.”