“Human beings are amazing creatures. We have high tolerance for enduring hardship and endless capacity for growth. Regardless of the outcome of one’s battle with a serious illness, it is a journey of discovery and spiritual revelation. You are brought to your knees. You learn what’s important in this world. Or maybe you just learn that the things of this world are not important, except for love and kindness.” — Erin Brady Worsham
I can remember the first time I saw them. A Southern Festival of Books on downtown Nashville's legislative plaza. A woman in a wheel chair. She appeared to have more challenges than physical mobility. With her, a handsome young son. And also an equally handsome husband. At least I assumed this was a family. What was clear was the cohesiveness and devotion of this small unit. I first saw them before my own daughter would be diagnosed with autism, introducing me into a special, tight-knit disAbility community. There, soon, I met this amazing woman I had seen years earlier.
Her name is Erin Brady Worsham. For 16 years she has lived with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She met her handsome husband, Curry, as a fellow thespian. After years of trying to conceive, they'd learn that their hopes of having a child were at last fulfilled. Only, they learned of his conception just after they'd also learned of Erin's ALS.
While Erin no longer performs on a stage as an actress or as the dancer she also once was, she continues to write and create visual art. Prolifically. Her work is created painstakingly with a computer sensor attached to her forehead, which she moves to create colorful, detailed, imaginative art with her computer. Plus send off some kick-ass letters to the editor and legislators campaigning for the healthcare rights of people with disAbilities. She is a champion. And I'm proud to know her. And Curry.
Recently, we had a chance to support this special family. Nashville's 1,000-year flood caused Curry to lose some of his vending machine clients and the couple could not meet their mortgage payments. Negotiations with their bank failed and they faced foreclosure. Until. Until Nashville, great city that she is, opened her heart and wallets and paid for the Worsham's home, ending the family's mortgage debt. Past and future. The art, above, was designed by Erin as a thank you card that everyone who generously donated to save their home, received.
The Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilties recently recognized the Worshams, honoring them as Family of the year. And this Saturday night, November 13, 5:30-9:00, Studio East Nashville opens its doors for a Erin, the artist. Here's more details from Studio East, located on the corner of 16th and Woodland Streets.
"Worsham, a nationally recognized artist, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) [sixteen] years ago and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. She is able to continue her artistic expression by communicating to a computer via a sensor taped to her forehead. Each digital composition is highly detailed and can take as long as 300 hours to complete.
"A classically trained artist and actress, Worsham brings a strong color pallet and a powerful use of perspective to her fanciful digital designs. Her work has been described as celebratory, ironic, joyful and intelligent. Worsham uses humor and the element of surprise in her art to encourage the viewer to focus on that which is positive in their lives. Her own example is truly inspirational.
"The Worsham family’s finances have suffered greatly due to the recession and recent flood. Everyone is invited to come celebrate and support this wonderfully exceptional woman. All donations and proceeds from exhibit sales will go to help this courageous family continue forward.
"A second reception for the artist will be on Sun., November 14 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.
"For further information call John Guider 615-496-3499 or email email@example.com.
Studio East is a professional photography studio and creative space in East Nashville. Owner John Guider and his studio partner, Stacey Irvin, celebrate the local community through special events featuring established and emerging visual artists."