Cecelia Johnson - Drawing in a Box

Cecilia Johnson, Drawing in a Box, 2012. PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID A. BROWN

A few weeks ago I got a message from a friend about Cecelia Johnson asking if there was anything I could do to help get the word out about her art and her battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Since then I’ve been following her story online, and I had the pleasure of chatting with both Cecelia and her mother. At present Cecelia is awaiting a round of stem cell therapy that hits the bank for around $30,000. The average struggling artist does not typically have that kind of cash set aside for a rainy day, let alone a young, talented artist living with MS. Lucky for Cecelia, she has an army of supporters behind her. Her friend Robin Rayburn set up a fundraising campaign to assist with medial costs. The goal is to raise $6000 by September 7 when Robin will head for Chicago to particiapate in the Big Shoulders Open Water Swim. The campaign, (Wet) Suiting Up for CeCe, has raised $3,880 in just 2 weeks.

After following Cecelia on Youtube and Facebook over these last few weeks, I’ve gained a sense of her. Cecelia is an artist first, and a person living with MS second. Her mother, Patti says “She’s an artist with obstacles. She’s not drowning, but overcoming as best as she can.” Browse SaintCecelia on Flickr and you’ll agree with her. The images of Cecelia’s work are beautiful and range from splashes of color to dismal gray sketches. Watch her Youtube channel and you’ll wonder how it is that so much talent is coming from someone with a debilitating, incurable disease.

Cecilia Johnson, Untitled, June 2012. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Cecilia Johnson, Untitled, June 2012. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Patti started taking her daughter to Mexico in 2007 for experimental stem cell therapy. She had treatments annually until 2010 when the money simply ran out. Each time Cecelia has had stem cell therapy she has seen improvement. Earlier this year the Texas Medical Board approved new rules requiring patients to give consent as well as for a review board to approve procedures for stem cell therapies. She is scheduled to have her next round of stem cells in October of this year right here in Texas. While these treatments are controversial, Cecelia has done her research and her documentary paints a clear picture of not only different types of stem cell therapies, but the difference in her demeanor and abilities between these treatments.

I have the utmost respect for this artist who continues to fight a disease that cannot be cured and refuses to let it hinder her ability to create. For more information on Cecelia and how you can help her cause, follow these links:

Saint Cecelia on Flickr
Cecelia Johnson’s Stem Cell Story on Vimeo
Cecelia Johnson on Youtube
Cecelia Johnson on Facebook
(Wet) Suiting Up for Cece on YouCaring.com

Remember the fundraiser closes September 7, so please give what you can to help Cecelia continue her fight.

-CANDACE KIZER
Candace is a corporate construction aficionado by day and our Marketing and Social Media Manager by night.