September 01, 2019
A ‘vicious cycle’ of mental health problems and drugs led to the recent death of Parys Lapper, his mother – artist Alison Lapper MBE – has said. 
Alison Lapper Speaks Out About Vicious Cycle Leading To Death Of Son Parys
Lapper, who was born with no arms and shortened legs due to a congenital disorder, was eight months pregnant with Parys when she posed naked for a sculpture which was displayed on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the artist said her son, who died recently at the age of 19, had found himself caught up in a cycle of mental health issues and drug use. 
Police told Lapper her son may have died from an accidental overdose, the newspaper reported. 
She said: “His mental health would get worse so he’d take drugs and the drugs would then make his mental health worse.”
She described how her son had struggled with bullying at school due to her disability, and told her at the age of 13 he no longer wanted her to come to parents’ evenings. 
“I could see how anxious he was,” she said, adding that when she turned up at school they were ‘the show’. 
She said: “The next day Parys would go in and they would rip pieces out of him.”
Lapper also said Parys had concerns about his body image and became introverted as he grew older. 
She said she ‘fought tooth and nail’, stating: “You know your own child better than anybody but, of course, people didn’t believe me. It was really hard.”
Lapper, who said she believed her son had been on the road to recovery, stated that she did not want him to be remembered as a ‘junkie, as just just another drugs death’, adding: ‘The drugs were a consequence of what he had been through.’ 
She told The Sunday Times: “Mums like me shouldn’t be burying 19-year-old kids, should we? He’s supposed to be burying me.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted about the interview, writing: “Heartbreaking to read of the death of the wonderful Alison Lapper’s son, Parys. Alison is a true icon of inclusivity & inner strength. We as a nation grieve with her.”
Lapper is known around the world for her work, but in 2014 she said Parys is ‘my greatest piece of art work and creation’.
She uses photography, digital imaging and painting to question physical normality and beauty.
As an artist she poses questions around perceptions of physical ‘normality’ and beauty ideals through the mediums of photography, digital imaging, and painting. 
A member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World, she has used her body as subject matter for artworks.
The statue of Lapper, titled Alison Lapper Pregnant, was a 13-tonne, 11ft 6in high white marble sculpture by artist Marc Quinn, and was unveiled in Trafalgar Square in 2005.
London mayor at the time, Ken Livingstone, hailed Ms Lapper as a “modern heroine”.Related... Teenage Son Of Disabled Artist Alison Lapper Dies Suddenly West Texas Shooting: At Least 7 Killed And More Than 20 Injured Former Spain And Barcelona Manager's Daughter Dies Aged 9
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