Finding a Cure Through Art | News
ORCHARD PARK, NY-For one young man battling both Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and a form of autism, efforts to find a cure come in the form of paint, crayons and colored pencils.
Francis Desmond was diagnosed with DMD when he was eight years old and Autism Spectrum Disorder just two years later. Now age 13, the young man has learned to channel his struggles with his disease and express himself creatively through art.
According to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, DMD is a genetic disorder in which muscle cells are severely damaged, resulting in progressive muscle weakness. Recently, this muscle deterioration has started to affect Francis, who now needs a wheelchair to get around his home.
"I love to watch him draw because so much of his personality comes out on a piece of paper," said Francis' mother, Suzanne Desmond. "What I don't always see in his head because of his autism is expressed in his artwork."
Francis has demonstrated a talent and passion for drawing and painting since he was just two years old. Since then, his father and professional photographer, Steven Desmond, has compiled 50 of his son's works along with 50 family photos into a single book.
"As I thought about it over and over again I thought, this kid's got a talent in art and I've been a photographer, which is also a talent," said Desmond. "We can we mold the two together to create a book to raise money, raise awareness, change the way we feel about ourselves, our families and children with special needs and really make a statement on a small scale to make a difference."
The book, "A Life with A Purpose", was released to the public Thursday night at the Orchard Park Fire Company-all of which autographed by Francis himself. The book is also available through the family's "A Life With A Purpose" Facebook page.
All proceeds from the book go directly to DMD research.
"We need more of these grassroots campaigns to try and resolve and find cures or hope for the future," said Desmond.