|"Brian Reading a Mystery Novel" 30" x 24" Oil on Canvas|
At the of 4, Brian competed in the Special Olympics. While growing up, Brian had never met anyone with the same disorder. He faced many challenges growing up with NF1. He had many learning disabilities, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, along with a speech impediment. During adolescence, Brian suffered trauma from a brain injury, which lead to the discovery of a tumor on his brain. He had always struggled with severe anxiety. He fell into a deep depression and at the age 13. Brian attempted to take his own life. NF also caused other physical issues such as deformed and weakened bones. Brian has had broken fingers, wrist, leg & ankles, and endured an ankle replacement surgery. He also has had tumors removed from his heart and brain.
Brian struggles to get and keep jobs. The anxiety caused by others staring at his facial tumors as well as his hands tends to affect his work. In addition, NF has caused issues with Brian's mobility, such as being unable to stand for long periods of time.
When he was 24, Brian married the love of his life, Kristen Peterson. They currently live in downtown Des Moines. Brian has been an advocate for NF for many years and is currently involved in many of the Children's Tumor Foundation's awareness projects including the upcoming NF walk held in Des Moines.