When Luke O'Moore, 8, was diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2011, Los Gatos artist Coco Franklin began thinking of ways to help his family pay for medical and personal expenses.
Just before Christmas, she sold 30 small "Love for Luke" paintings during the Sip and Shop event at Twin Soul Art Studio in Los Gatos and gave 30 percent of the proceeds to the O'Moore family.
"Everyone went, 'Oh my gosh, I want one of those,' " Franklin said of the gold-and-red acrylic on oil paintings. "My inspiration was to make something personal that people would want to buy and to make something with a golden heart which I believe every child has, especially Luke."
Besides those 30 paintings, she's now sold 47. The Valentine inspired paintings range in size from 4x4 all the way to 12x12, or larger if desired.
Franklin said the paintings are expensive to make since she works on gallery wrapped canvases, applies a thick coating of texture to each, then adds three different coats of paint on them, and spreads a final thick coat to create the golden heart.
The recent batch was begun two weeks ago and she hopes to sell them in time for Valentine's Day.
If someone donates more than the price of the painting, 100 percent of that amount goes to Luke, she said.
Each piece has a fingerprint of Luke on the back, she said.
Since Luke's acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis, he has spent time in the hospital varying from days to weeks at a time, Franklin said.
He'll be going through years of chemotherapy, but his prognosis is good in large part due to advances in medicine over the last few decades, she explained.
"He's doing good. He's very feisty. He's got a lot of energy. He's a great boy," Franklin said.
Mom Maria O'Moore expressed gratitude for Franklin. "She's wonderful. She's fantastic," she said.
The women have been friends for about four years, since their older sons were in kindergarten together, they said.
Dad Fergal O'Moore was also appreciative of Franklin and town residents who have taken an interest in Luke and his treatment. "The whole thing is difficult for us and for him so it really helps to see such great support from the community," he said.
The O'Moores said Luke is doing well right now and enjoys playing with older brother Cian, 9, and riding his bike, which he can't do now due to low blood count from undergoing chemotherapy.
Luke and his brother are also raising money for leukemia research. They make digital lemonade, instead of normal lemonade, and sell low-price art prints by Luke and guests on the Internet throught their charity Luke's Lemons.
The money benefits the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. To date Luke has raised almost $3,000, $2,000 of which has already been delivered to the hospital.
"We would love to let people know about this charity as it is something that makes him, and us, feel like we are helping out while so many people are helping us," Fergal O'Moore said.
To order a painting from Franklin, please visit her website, or email her at email@example.com.