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Art for a Good Cause

The Oakeside Manor hosts an art fundraiser for Rett Syndrome research.

Making a living through art is not easy. There is a reason the term “starving artist” is a cliché. But when it comes to giving back to those in need, artists can sometimes have the biggest hearts of all.

This Tuesday night the Oakeside Manor hosted Linda Albanese’s Rett Syndrome Art Fundraiser. Gathered in the expansive rooms and the softly lit atrium of the Manor, art aficionados and family members alike enjoyed the paintings of Marcia Miele Branca, Joanne de Florio, Joan Donnelly and Lynne Palmer, a few artists with especially big hearts who donated their work to raise funds for Rett Syndrome research.

“One hundred percent of all these sales go to Rett Syndrome [research.]  The artists receive nothing at all, other than the gift of giving it to us for sale,” said Albanese.

“I feel great about using art as a vehicle. That’s a good thing. That motivates me,” said Branca, artist and friend of Albanese. “It’s how I express myself, and if it can help Linda’s cause, the Rett’s girls, I’m very happy to do it.”

Palmer agreed. “I used to work with profoundly handicapped children so of course my art is involved with this kind of charity.  I was more than happy to volunteer some works for this fundraiser.”

Rett Syndrome is a nervous system disorder that, among other things, hinders development in speech and coordination, especially in the hands.  Because Rett Syndrome affects the X chromosome, the overwhelming majority of patients  who survive past birth are female.

This particular fundraiser was inspired by Albanese’s own granddaughter, 9-year-old Michelle, who lives with Rett Syndrome.

Albanese fawned over her grandchild when speaking about the things she loves in her life.

“She loves Justin Beiber. She can’t say his name but when she sees him, oh, she knows that,” said Albanese, going on to say that the Jonas Brothers are now old news. Albanese also explained that while Michelle is unable to do the things normal little girls can, such as attend dance classes and soccer practice, she is able to go horseback riding (the activity is part of her therapy which strengthens her legs and back) which she absolutely loves.

With researchers getting closer every day to a cure, Albanese has modest hopes for Michelle. She simply wishes that her grandchild will experience the simple ups and downs of a regular life.

“If we can get that far, to make it better for them, give them a better quality of life because right now there is very little except for family involvement,” said Albanese. “For my son and my daughter-in-law to be able to hear ‘I love you’ out of her lips, even though she shows it, would the greatest joy.”

For those wishing to donate, please visit the Rett Syndrome Research Trust.

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