Most people know that I have a few causes that are close to my heart: healthcare, women's empowerment, the arts. I've done a lot of volunteer work and work-work raising funds and awareness, organizing, planning and jumping in wherever needed to give back, mentor and generally help out.
And over the years, I've asked for much support from my friends and family and community and have always been blown away by the resounding response.
In particular, through my work at The Brides Project and the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor, I've seen the emotional, financial and logistical challenges faced by a family dealing with cancer. It's pervasive. It's unmooring.
There's always another person, family or community to help. And for me, this month, it comes in the form of a charity art auction for the Ackermann family, whose 2 and a half year old son, Brayden has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).
I had never heard of this cancer, until a community of artists via Instagram decided to put together an art auction to raise money. DIPG only affects about 300 children per year, and what's particularly scary is that Brayden was happy and seemingly healthy, until one day he lost use of the left side of his body. Of course his parents rushed him to Westchester Children's Hospital, not knowing what to think.
How utterly devastating to learn that your child has a difficult diagnosis that's rarely cured. And then to have to find the strength to do everything possible in the face of that and to preserve a normalcy and quality of life as much as possible for a child who may or may not really understand what is happening to him or her.
To try to help offset the financial worries for the Ackermann family, over 90 artists from around the world have donated pieces for an art auction to be held Friday September 16 - Sunday September 18. The auction will open on Friday at 7am Eastern on Instagram @brushstrokesforbrayden. Here's the link for those that want to check it out or pass it along.
The artworks are currently being posted to that Instagram account so you can see what's available before the auction opens. Opening bids are very reasonable, but hopefully we can raise a lot more money and awareness!
Please spread the word to your art loving friends, even if you don't bid yourself. And if you find something you love, but don't have Instagram, let me know, and we can discuss a proxy bidding system. I'm Artwork #9.
Thanks for always being there and exceeding my expectations.