Friday, December 9, 2016

Case Study #35 - Elana Scooping Ice Cream

Elana Scooping Ice Cream. 30" x 24" Oil on Canvas.
Elana loves ice cream — not just eating it, but scooping it. That was her summer job before starting college.

The years leading up to that point were challenging, exciting and interesting for Elana. She was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 at age 3 due in large part to her cafe au lait spots. Elana grew up in Texas where she enjoyed a childhood without medical complications. During a routine MRI when Elana was 11 years old, her NF specialist discovered a brain tumor. The surgery to remove it was successful, and she was released from Children’s Hospital in St. Louis on her 12th birthday.

Prep sketch
Having brain surgery made Elana more aware of NF and empathetic toward others with the disorder. She began sending personalized care packages to children in the NF community who were undergoing surgery or treatment for their tumors. Over the next two years, Elana would send over 100 packages to children in over 25 states!

Elana’s involvement in the NF cause grew as she herself grew. She served as a counselor-in-training at Camp New Friends (a camp in West Virginia for kids with NF), helped narrate a national video to raise awareness, and did fundraising by selling duct-tape wallets that she made herself. Most importantly, she advocates for NF research dollars on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. with the NF Network, a national organization that leads the advocacy efforts to find treatments and a cure for neurofibromatosis.

Besides scooping ice cream, Elana enjoys baking, working jigsaw puzzles, and traveling. She has visited all 50 states.