Travelers Rest girl's artwork helps raise awareness of rare disease

CHICAGO, IL. — A Travelers Rest girl’s artwork is part of an exhibit that will tour the world to raise awareness of a rare disease.

Bree Forrester is one of more than 100 artists from 30 countries featured in the Cystinosis Research Network's “Dream, Achieve, Inspire.” exhibit, which will be on display for the first time in Chicago from July 16-18 at the nonprofit's biennial conference.

In addition to demonstrating their creative abilities, the artists aim to make a statement of awareness and strength for those living with cystinosis.

According to exhibit chairperson, Katie Larimore, raising awareness on an international level is vital. She says, “In countries such as Iraq, Venezuela and Thailand we hope to gain recognition for the patients there and make vital medicines available for the first time.”

Chicago is the first stop for the “Dream, Achieve, Inspire” art show, with cystinosis support groups in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom lining up to share the unprecedented collection.

Forrester's piece is a self-portrait drawing that says: "I am strong."

Cystinosis is a rare, genetic, metabolic disease impacting approximately 2,000 people worldwide. Cystinosis causes an amino acid, cystine, to accumulate in the kidneys, eyes, liver, muscles, pancreas, brain, and white blood cells. Without treatment, children with cystinosis can develop end stage kidney failure at approximately age nine.

For more information, visit the CRN website here or follow them on Facebook here.