hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


May 2, 2013

Drawing some comic relief

Man amuses fellow hospital patients, staff by sketching their likenesses


But as the days wore on and his drawings filled the hospital hallway walls, fire officials told Schena his display was becoming a fire hazard and asked him to take most of it down.

”The nurses brought their drawings home with them,” he said.

His last day at the hospital was bittersweet.

”I had to say goodbye to all the friends I’d made,” Schena said. “I felt like I was leaving my family.

”To this day, I still visit the hospital’s cafeteria to draw people I missed during my stay,” he said. “People love it. And the nurses tell me they miss me.”

In the accident that severely injured Schena, police said that on the morning of Dec. 16, 2011, a single-car crashed on Interstate 495 south in Merrimac, claiming the life of two people. George Schena, 27, of Plaistow, a front-seat passenger, died after becoming trapped in the Chrysler Sebring, which rolled over and hit a tree in the highway median near the Emery Street overpass. The driver of the car, Vanessa Knight, 27, of East Hampstead, died later at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport.

Thomas Schena, George’s older brother, was in the back seat and was injured. He was taken by ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital and later transferred to a Boston hospital.

”I was taken to Beth Israel Hospital with broken legs and was there for more than a month, learning to walk again,” Thomas Schena said. “While I was there, I drew pictures of the staff and patients. And I did the same thing when I was sent to Northeast Rehab in Salem (N.H.), where I drew the faces of staff, patients and other images.”

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