In 2010 we held a Launch Party and Fundraising Event for MarbleRoad on October 23,
the 20th Anniversary of Make a Difference Day.
Perhaps one of the most compelling stories of an artist who exhibited at the 2010 Launch Party and Fundraising Event was that of Julie Gidion-Smith. Julie was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), is a disease that attacks the kidney's filtering system, as a toddler. She lived the first 34 years of her life (including 5 years in New Zealand, a year in Canada and having two children) aware but pretty much symptom-free. So, in February 2002, when it seemed to be taking an extrodinarily long time to recover from the flu it didn't cross her mind that she was actually experiencing renal failure. Yet, there it was... Eventually, through the ABO Incompatible Transplant protocol, Julie found an organ donor. Plasmapheresis, IVIG therapy, powerful immunosuppressants and spleen removal are combined to enable recipients to receive kidneys from live donors with blood types that have traditionally been deemed incompatible. This revolutionary series of procedures made it possible for Julie's blood type A sister to override Julie's high PRA and donate her kidney to type O+ Julie. On September 28, 2004, after 36 years of progressive kidney disease, 19 months on dialysis and 5 transplant centers, Julie received the gift of life from her baby sister. Julie and her family are now Donate Life Ambassadors.
Julie is a photographer living in West Coast style in the US. Since the 2010 Launch event, Julie's photographs have been seen in numerous web outlets. A selection of her photographs of street art in and around Los Angeles have been submitted for the 2011 exhibition; one of which, the work of artist 2wenty, has been picked up by Gawker, LAist, Social Times, and other web-based news outlets.
Here is a quick glance at some of her work that sold at the event: