Monday, December 1, 2014

Case Study #14 - Juan Practicing Taekwondo

Juan Practicing Taekwondo - 30" x 24" oil on canvas
Juan Rodriguez was born in Massachusetts and at birth he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, due to many café-au-spots. Problematic and heartwrenching for his mother was the fact that Juan's right leg snapped in two due to a tumor that had grown inside of his bone. After his leg broke, he had to have a double operation which involved removing two ribs to try and replace his right tibia. The procedures were done at two months and again at six months old.

As a child growing up Juan was not allowed to play due to the cast that was on his leg that reached up to his hip. The doctors explained to his mother that the operation they had preformed, might not last long and amputation might be an option.

In his later teenager years Juan had many troubles. Teenagers made fun of his leg and underestimated him; believing he was weak. These same teenagers also made fun of the bumps (tumors) that he had growing all over his stomach. While Juan heard all sort of jokes about his tumors, such as "connect the dots", "looks like mountains", and other cruel jokes, Juan decided to do his best to excel in sports, and in this way he could hide his tumors with his clothes.

Prep Sketch - 30" x 24" Oil on Canvas
In September 2013, while in his mid thirties, Juan joined Taekwondo, mostly for joint relief, as he had had problems with mobility, stiffness and pain. Juan hopes to someday achieve his black belt in Taekwondo.

Juan in the past has help spread awareness of NF awareness through the Childrens Tumor Foundation (CTF) in New York City by participating in two of the Cupid Undies Run Fundraiser runs, and casino night. He looks forward to doing more work with the CTF. Recently, Juan spoke about NF at his alma mater, Essex County College, in Newark, NJ helping to educate a class learn about the disorder; a disorder that affects so many people worldwide.

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