Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Featured Artist Donna Bell - Quadriplegic - Artist and Much More - Please Read

Today I have the pleasure of featuring a good friend of mine and fellow artist Donna Bell. I met Donna about two years ago on facebook but it hasn't been until very recently that we've connected on another level. Let me tell you a little about Donna's personal story.

Donna Bell is a native of Denham Springs, Louisiana which is how we first met because we are virtual neighbors, about 45 minutes drive between us. When I first met Donna on facebook and checked out her profile pictures, there were several albums, one with pictures of this day in her life that changed every aspect of her life. There were other albums with drawings she had done using only her mouth and even a couple of examples of crochet done also using only her mouth. I was absolutely astonished at what she is able to do in this manner. We chatted off and on over the past couple of years but recently there was a post that caught my eye and my heart.

Let me start by saying Donna has never had a powered wheelchair, nor a Custom Handicapped Van with a lift, required to transport a heavy chair like that in the 35 years since her accident. For 35 years, her family has had to lift her in and out of standard vehicles. 

Last week I happened across a post Donna made about a contest with a grand prize of a new customized van with a lift. I have entered several of these types of contests in the past with my art and never got close to winning. Internet voting can be very unfair. Regardless, I set out to get Donna some votes. Even with my vast social network over many social media platforms, I was only able to generate approximately 1% of what is needed for one of these vans. That fundraiser is now in effect at gofundme. GoFundMe allows users to create their own website to describe what they are raising money for. During this process, members can enter the fundraising cause, the amount they hope to raise, and even upload photos or video. Once the website is created, GoFundMe allows users to share their project with people through integrated social network links (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and email. People can then donate to a user’s cause through the website and track the progress of their funding. Those who donate can also leave comments on the website in support of the project. GoFundMe generates revenue by automatically deducting a 5% transaction fee from each donation a user receives. If the user receives no donations, then no charge is made.

GoFundMe is unique to crowdfunding in that they are not an incentive-based crowdfunding website. Although they do allow projects that are meant to fund other projects for musicians, inventors, etc., the business model is set up to allow for donations to personal causes and life events such as medical bills. GoFundMe also has a special section dedicated solely to users who are trying to raise money to cover their tuition costs. One of the most notable tuition projects involved helping a user raise $25,000 to pay out of state tuition to a PhD program after that user was selected among 125 applicants into that program. If you are in a position to give to this great cause, please visit: www.freedomfordonna.org which is Donna's donation page. If you can't give; this is very important, sharing this post could make a huge difference. Please at least share and tweet this story. We need $60,000.00 to get Donna in a new custom van and power wheelchair.
On June 28th 1979 Donna was is a horrible car accident. She was only 15 at the time of the wreck which broke her neck leaving her a quadriplegic C-3 C-4, unable to move from the shoulders down for the past 34 years. I tried to put myself in her shoes and think what would it be like not to feel the grass under my feet, the sand between my toes or to even hug her own Mom. We take so many things for granted and we can all lose them tomorrow. I feel compelled to help Donna reach her goals hence this post and the fundraiser link which I intend to share until the money is raised and I see Donna in that van.

Only since Donna has been paralyzed has she taught herself how to draw and crochet, by mouth, with the encouragement of family and friends as well as a whole lot of determination and commitment. Donna has a collection of her artwork on her facebook fan page if you would like to see more of her work and in greater detail. It's absolutely incredible what Donna is able to achieve artistically. It totally boggles my mind. I've also posted some of Donna's fun photo-manipulation work at the end of the post.

What now for Donna Bell? In time with the spreading of her story and helping to raise awareness of not only her disability but many others, she will be in a new custom van that will help her and her family tremendously. Donna is also scheduled for a featured interview with The Advocate Newspaper in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a few other things. You'll have to hang around to see what's next. Well, enough of me and my feelings about this; lets take a look at a sampling of the work this precious lady has done using only her mouth.
Yes, with her teeth!!
Donna's Photo-manipulations - Just for fun














Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day and be inspired!
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