Limitations don’t stop Palm Beach Gardens digital painter from creating art

September 6, 2012

The Palm Beach Post | September 4, 2012 | By Michelle Kaplan

PALM BEACH GARDENS —

For every artist comes a day of reckoning. It’s the day when you chose either to charge down the path of passion or take the paved road that leads to a job and a steady paycheck. It’s the day you decide to give up the dream.

That day came for A.J. Brockman when he began to lose the use of his hand and realized he would put his paintbrush down for good — except this was no choice.

“To have to relinquish your passion because you physically can’t do it anymore, it takes something out of your soul,” said Brockman. He lives with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, often called SMA, a progressive neuromuscular disease that has left him wheelchair-bound since the age of 2.

Brockman, now 24, found a way to retain his passion despite his condition, and now everyone who visits city hall can appreciate what he has achieved. The city — Brockman’s hometown — purchased his digital rendering of a banyan tree and has hung the 8-foot-by-4-foot work in the city council chamber and hosted a reception for him in early August.

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Wenona pupils learn life lesson from Karni Liddell

September 6, 2012

Mosman-Daily | September 2, 2012 | By Simone Roberts

WENONA students learned a valuable lesson in overcoming adversity from Australian Paralympic swimmer Karni Liddell.

The bronze medallist shared the story of her triumph over spinal muscular atrophy with students.

“I was born missing a few little muscles and my parents were told I wouldn’t walk or crawl,” she told the girls. Refusing to accept defeat, her father created a walking frame for Karni and she learned to walk.

With her competitive spirit, she honed her strengths in swimming to compete at the Paralympic Games in 1996 and 2000, where she won bronze medals.

“It doesn’t matter what body I have been given, what family I am from, where I was born, or how much money I have got. You can do whatever you want with your life,” she said.

Read the article by clicking HERE or on the image below.


Paralympics: Boccia player Nurul charts game and life with her mind

August 28, 2012

channelnewsasia.com | August 23, 2012 | By Leong Wai Kit

SINGAPORE: 1984 is a special year for Nurulasyiqah Mohd Taha. It was the year she was born, as well as that of the Paralympic sport she’ll be representing Singapore in, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The ball-tossing game of Boccia from Greece was introduced 28 years ago as a Paralympic sport specifically designed for athletes with a disability affecting locomotor functions.

The aim of the game is to toss a collection of balls as close as possible to a white ball known as the jack.

Nurul qualified for the Paralympics last December, becoming the first para-athlete to represent Singapore in that sport.

Born with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA II), Nurul’s condition causes nerve cell loss in her spinal cord which in turn limits muscle movement.

So instead of tossing, players in Nurul’s BC3 category use assistive devices to launch the balls.

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September’s legacy: Taking on Harvard in a wheelchair

August 27, 2012

CNN | August 27, 2012 | By Ben Mattlin

For many, back-to-school is a season of anticipation, nostalgia, and shopping. For me, it evokes memories of an unsung historical event: the integration of Harvard.

No, I’m not talking about racial integration; I’m talking about the full inclusion of students with disabilities.

When I entered Harvard College as a freshman in 1980, it happened to coincide with a new requirement — all institutions receiving federal funds had to become fully accessible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

I was a 17-year-old lifelong wheelchair-user, born with a neurological condition called spinal muscular atrophy. I’d never walked or stood and my arms were weak as a baby’s. But, as my parents often said, there was nothing wrong with my head.

I had little awareness of the precedent I was setting.

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Music gives disabled man a voice

August 26, 2012

Times Colonist | August 25, 2012 | By Amy Smart

Ari Kinarthy has a severe genetic disability that causes his muscles to waste away. He has been wheelchair-bound since age six – first manual, now electric.

At 23, his health is so fragile that the common cold puts him in the hospital several times a year.

But you wouldn’t know any of that, listening to his debut album, The Lion’s Journey, released June 12. Despite the very limited mobility caused by his Type-II spinal muscular atrophy, Kinarthy was able to compose and record jazz, rock and orchestral tracks, using a technology called Soundbeam.

He says it’s given him a new sense of purpose.

“I love to create things, the joy of creation is really what inspires me,” he said. “I never thought at the beginning that this would be a potential profession for me, but I do consider myself a composer and professional musician now.”

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With a cure in sight, Alyssa plans annual ‘Working on Walking’ fund-raisers

July 19, 2012

With a cure in sight, Alyssa plans annual ‘Working on Walking’ fund-raisers

The Valley Breeze | July 18, 2012 | By Meghan Kavanaugh

CUMBERLAND – It has been just over a decade since 10-year-old Alyssa Silva began designing greeting cards to raise research money for spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that causes her spinal nerve cells to degenerate, leaving her wheelchair bound.

Eleven years later, the 21-year-old Bryant University senior and dean’s list regular has raised approximately $70,000.

And she said scientists may be within five years of finding a cure.

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Composer Makes Music with Movement

June 15, 2012

Composer Makes Music with Movement

CTV Vancouver Island | June 13, 2012

VICTORIA — A young Victoria musician is releasing his first album, despite a big hurdle.

Ari Kinarthy was told he wouldn’t be able to make music . That changed after he started attending the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

The 22-year-old is living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy; a genetic condition that weakens all the muscles in his body.

Thanks to technology called Soundbeam, Kinarthy can compose his own songs and perform them. It turns his movement into music.

Now he’s released his first album, a collection of nine songs titled The Lion’s Journey.

It is available for sale at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Click HERE or on the image below to go to the story…


Man’s best friend adds positive impact to kids with special needs

June 15, 2012

Man’s best friend adds positive impact to kids with special needs

FOX | June 11, 2012 | By Chris Olberholtz and Matt Stewart

LEAWOOD, KS (KCTV) – Dogs are amazing animals and can do so many things. Now, one national organization is pairing up service dogs with kids with special needs.

An 8-year-old boy from Leawood just brought home his new best friend, and the positive impact it has made in his life is amazing.

Every morning, the parents of 8-year-old Charlie Sykora lift him out of bed and buckle him into his wheelchair so he can get around.

Charlie has Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA for short. He can’t walk. It is hard for him to play with other kids his age. He has struggled to make friends. But now he has a new best friend.

Meadow is half lab, half retriever, and she has helped people see Charlie in a different light.

“Charlie had been saying he didn’t want to go out in public because he didn’t like people staring at him, he didn’t like that feeling,” Charlie’s mother, Kim Sykora, said.

Charlie says people never used to come up to him before, only his family and friends.

“With a dog, it opens it up, it gives people a reason to approach,” his mom said.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more and see a great video…


Angela Wrigglesworth dubbed Klein ISD elementary Teacher of the Year

May 23, 2012

Angela Wrigglesworth dubbed Klein ISD elementary Teacher of the Year

Cypress Creek Mirror | May 10, 2012

Teaching wasn’t always Angela Wrigglesworth’s career goal. In fact, she likes to joke a fluke incident in college “railroaded” her into becoming a teacher.

Wrigglesworth was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when she was 16-months-old and has been wheel-chair bound nearly all her life.

During her first year at Texas A&M, she planned on getting a degree in business, which included several classes on the other side of campus from her dorm.

One day on her way to an accounting class, she was crossing a set of railroad tracks with a group of students when her wheelchair came to a dead stop. The electric current that was caused by a train that had just passed short circuited her chair mid-way through the tracks. After several minutes of panic and offers by students to help carry her extremely heavy wheelchair out of harm’s way, the chair turned back on. It was in that moment, however, that she vowed to never cross those tracks again.

“Life can lead us down so many paths, and in this particular case, my situation literally put me stuck on some railroad tracks and really changed the direction of my life,” recalled Wrigglesworth.

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Avery’s Bucket List (Video)

April 19, 2012

Avery’s Bucket List (Video)

FOX (Houston) | April 17, 2012 | By Sally Macdonald

Vodpod videos no longer available.

HOUSTON – A five-month-old Houston baby is on a mission to teach the world about her fatal genetic disease. You’ve likely never heard of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but 7.5 million Americans carry the gene that causes it.

Doctors have given Avery just 18 more months to live.

“Nothing will ever be the same as far as what’s important,” said Laura Canahuati, Avery’s mommy.

“I don’t want my daughter to die in vain, and I feel like if someone doesn’t tell her story that’s what’s going to happen,” said Mike Canahuati, Avery’s daddy.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…