Saturday, September 8, 2018

dis[ABILITIES] Photography Show

Rachelle Leon was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in the surrounding town of Winthrop. She shortly attended the Museum of Fine Arts School, Boston for photography. While there she discovered her passion for the pen and she earned a BFA in Professional Writing at Salem State University. While at Salem State she combined her photography and writing into a photo blog for her university e-zine, Red Skies. After moving to Maine she attended Southern Maine Community College, where she earned an AS in Marine Biology and Oceanography. Rachelle is a mostly self-taught multimedia artist and photographer and whether photographing nature, an object, or person her only hope is for others to be able to feel. She wants her photography to be used as a tool to help the viewer remember his own personal memories; pieces to his story that may have been missing. Memories are precious and powerful and fleeting.
In her latest photography series dis[ABILITIES], Rachelle set out to photograph others who live with disabilities and/or illnesses, including herself.
Her inspiration for this series comes from her own experiences living with MS and the disabilities that come from that. “Many people don't fully grasp what we do on a daily basis to live our lives, especially if it's an invisible illness...I want to showcase the strength, struggles, achievements, and lives of people with disabilities so others have more of an understanding. I want to open up a dialog, no matter how pleasant or uncomfortable.” 

This photography exhibit runs from October 1rst to November 30th.

At the opening reception there will be a raffle to win original photography prints by the Artist. All hung photographs will be available for purchase.

A portion of all sales will be donated to the National MS Society.

For more information on the photographer please visit:

Friday, March 11, 2016

WalkMS 2016

This year I am participating in WalkMS Portland.

Multiple Sclerosis is important to me because I was diagnosed in 2011 with relapsing remitting MS. 
In January I married my best friend. In June I graduated from Southern Maine Community College. I was offered a job at a company I wanted to work for. I had dreams of getting promoted to a laboratory position. Everything was going my way. Little did I know something was brewing inside of me and it was about to explode. 
On the first day I was supposed to go live at work, I woke up and something was VERY wrong. I could barely get out of bed and I couldn't walk without my husband's help. I lost all sensation in my stomach and the whole left half of my body, from my head to my toes. I was in severe pain but all I could think about was getting to work. I had my husband drive me and when we got there I had him go inside and ask for the wheelchair. My husband wheeled me into work. My supervisor was extremely concerned and she asked me to speak with the nurse. I was heartbroken when she told me I couldn't work and needed to go to the hospital immediately. 

Most of the time at the ER was a blur. The first doctor was young and inexperienced. He was going to send me home but my husband was adamant in me staying there until they found out what was wrong. I was sent for more testing, including MRI's. I'll never forget what happened next. My husband sat in a chair to the left of my bed, clutching at his hands and smiling at me each time my gaze met his. And then a different doctor came into the room. He said, "You have MS, I'm sorry," and left the room. I didn't have time to react. Before then I had no idea what MS was and I was terrified.

I had to stay over. The next morning I had to get a spinal tap to confirm my diagnosis. I laid on my left side as I held my husband's hand. My friend was there too. She had been there all day playing games and keeping us company. The procedure wasn't as bad as I thought but the pressure was still uncomfortable. The results came back and it was a fact. I had MS.

The week after I was released from the hospital my spinal tap didn't heal correctly and spinal fluid ended up leaking, causing me to be a vegetable. I couldn't lift my head, I was incoherent, and I felt like I was dying. Ultimately I had to get a blood patch to fix it, which is a barbaric act. They placed a needle in my wrist to squeeze and bleed me out into a bag. They then used my blood to patch my spine. The doctors and nurses were very concerned and I don't think they ever saw anyone that bad. Luckily it healed and I was right as rain within a few days.

The diagnosis was easy compared to the lifelong struggle I, as well as millions of others, have every day. I have good days and not so good days but I always fight. I stay strong and I stay positive. One of the slogans for MS is "keep moving" and, it's true. You have to keep moving or else this disease will pile on top of itself and smother you from within. As long as I am alive I will always be more than this disease. In 2013 I participated in Walk MS. I raised over a thousand dollars. In 2014 I ran in Muckfest MS and our team raised over a thousand dollars. This year I will participate in Walk MS again and hopefully raise another thousand dollars.
These events are symbols of our struggles every day. This is why I fight.

This is why MS matters to me.
If you would like to donate towards my cause please click on the link below. Cane or not, I will be walking alongside my supporters this year to find a cure for this debilitating disease. Thank you!