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Sail On by Michelle Bianco

Two and a half years ago, Michelle Bianco’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with ALS. Bianco has what is called bulbar onset ALS. In Michelle's case, her symptoms caused her to lose her speech and ability to eat. Other symptoms that can occur are muscle weakness in a person’s throat, neck and face, and eventually a person's outer limbs are affected. 


After losing verbal expression, photography took on new meaning for Michelle. It became a new way to express herself.  Many of Bianco’s photographs are of family travel adventures representing heart held memories.


Michelle’s photographs are a conduit for connection. The imagery acts like a time machine, taking her back to the beauty of her surroundings, the smell in the air, and the feelings of appreciation and togetherness.


Being unable to speak can lead to feelings of isolation, but photography has given Michelle a creative outlet and a way to share unspoken thoughts.

Fluidity by Ken Brenner

Ken Brenner was a lifelong learner and self-taught artist who experimented with acrylic and watercolor paints in the early 1970s. After his time as an athlete, and throughout his careers as a teacher and bank executive, he continued to pursue his creative endeavors.

Introduced to oil painting in 2008, Ken rediscovered his passion for art. Ken developed an expertise in abstract oil painting and continued to experiment with color and composition. Throughout the entirety of his artistic career Ken exhibited in Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and New York City.

In 2015, Brenner felt weakness in his legs. Over the course of five years, Ken’s symptoms worsened, and he started to lose the use of his left arm. It took an additional six months before he was correctly diagnosed with ALS.

Undeterred, Brenner found an artistic escape when he collaborated with his son’s friend and fellow artist, Octavio Molina. As Ken's ALS progressed, he was forced to transition from a paintbrush, to a palette knife, to making dots with his fingers.

Ken passed away February 14, 2022, but his artwork continues to inspire.

Libellue by Scott Craig

Scott Craig was diagnosed with ALS in 2019. As his disease has progressed, slowly locking him inside his body, Scott has turned to painting and writing as outlets for emotional expression and communication. With the advance of technology, Scott uses infrared eye tracking to control the strokes of his “brush” against a digital canvas to combine deep charcoals with bright metallics.


Having spent time cooking in the rolling farmlands of Michigan and among the high Sierra’s, around Lake Tahoe, Scott’s former outlets of artistry came out of a kitchen on plates. As an accomplished chef and restaurateur, Scott now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma and “cooks” with his eyes, inspired by the energy of life he observes around him.

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Sandra Murphy-Pak is an artist challenging and changing the limits of working and living with disability. Her personal diagnosis with ALS has led to new dimensions of achievement in an already spectacular professional career. 

Sandra served as a visionary citizen and creative force for more than 30 years as an artist and educator. Since 2015 she has created new original art using her right foot as her only creative implement. Her “Footwork” series of paintings has been featured in national and regional publications and exhibited at major medical and educational institutions.


Her ALS diagnosis arrived while she was engaged as an artist-in-residence at the prestigious UF Health Shands Arts In Medicine Program. Sandra’s improbable transformation from artist and educator to artist-living-with-disability has led to what she considers the most productive creative period of her career.

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Mary Porter learned watercolor in December 2022. She began art therapy as a way to cope with her ALS diagnosis and to aid her grieving process. She says, “I have ALS and I am slowly becoming paralyzed in all [of] my muscles. I am still able to use my hands but they are getting worse. Along the way, I fell in love with watercolor painting!”


Porter’s goal is to paint all of the US National Parks that she and her family have visited. These paintings will serve as a memorial for her husband and future grandchildren. 


Mary and her husband live on a lavender farm at the foot of Mt.Hood in Oregon. She is grateful for the beauty that surrounds her each day that inspires her to keep painting

Burning Love

Brandy Trigona is a self taught artist who began drawing when she was just three years old. She found inspiration in everything from the Charles M. Schultz’s “Peanuts” characters to works of art by the Great Masters.

Brandy traveled extensively and art was her constant companion. She has expressed herself in drawing, painting, photography, sculpting and metal work.


Diagnosed with ALS in 2019 affected her ability to use her hands. It took 2 years before she was able to find a way to do art again. Through experimentation she began drawing on her iPad using the Notes app, a head mouse and bite switch.* Since then, she has created more than 500 pieces of art.

“ALS has changed the way I create, but not my creativity.” 

- Brandy Trigona


* Note per the Apple website: “Switch Control is an assistive technology for anyone with limited mobility. It enables you to interact with iPad by activating a switch, such as pressing an external adaptive button, performing a head movement, or making a voiced or voiceless sound. Using one or more switches, you can navigate a cursor around the iPad screen, then open the Scanner menu to choose an available action…”

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