RACHEL MINDRUP
These documentary styled paintings are all done with the assistance of those portrayed coordinating their own photo shoots and celebrating their vocations or hobbies. Together we work on how the portrait should be handled. Each participant writes his or her own biography and ends it with a positive note for all of us to ponder and live by!  Please view the entire collection at: http://www.facebook.com/ManyFacesNF

Amy Creating a Planter Box
2018
Oil on Canvas
30" x 24"

“Hey, there’s Amy ‘My Face is Exploding’ Young!” That’s what some classmates called Amy Young-Ames Reay during her senior year of high school when enormous bumps grew on her face out of nowhere. Amy laughed it off because she grew up in a household full of teasing, sarcasm and jokes, and knew the kids meant no harm. But at the same time, her face was in excruciating pain and the bumps sometimes burst which everyone thought was disgusting. The doctor said it was cystic acne though she later learned those were her first tumors in her nerve endings.

After high school, Amy had a series of tumors develop and had them removed surgically but was given no explanation. When she was 21, she began having debilitating migraines and balance issues which led to finding her first brain tumor. After it was surgically removed (leaving her deaf in her right ear) and ruled an acoustic neuroma. So many symptoms developed. MRIs found bilateral acoustic neuromas and a spine full of tumors. Amy was finally diagnosed with NF2 at age 29. Another brain surgery then spine surgery, leg surgery, neck surgery, shoulder surgery. At this point, she has lost count. Two more acoustic neuromas came back so they tried gamma knife radiation twice hoping to save her hearing, but that failed. Fast forward to today: Amy is deaf, has 7 existing brain tumors, 14 spine tumors and more peripheral tumors than she can even count. She has a cochlear implant for sound though there is not enough clarity to understand spoken words. Amy lives with nerve pain every day, frequent headaches, balance issues and deafness.

But, she is also happy and living a wonderful life. Amy feels this illness has made her a better person. She fights back against NF by being an avid supporter and participant in Cupid’s Undie Run. She and her team have run for two years in a row, have been the 3rd top fundraising team. She is personally the #2 fundraiser for Boston and is so proud of that! It’s important to her that she has a good time while making a difference. ”I want to be known as a fighter but also someone who never forgets to laugh. I’ve learned throughout my life that crying changes nothing. You have a choice: let illness destroy you or overcome, living your best life. I choose the latter."
Oil Portraits NF2
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