It All Started with a Pink Donut
I was eight years old in December 2006, when I saw the pink donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts and told my Mom, “hey, Dunkin’ Donuts should use these pink donuts to raise money for breast cancer!” I thought about how lucky I was. Then I thought “what about me?” At that time I didn't even know I actually already had two Aunts who were breast cancer survivors!
So I decided to have a birthday party with a purpose and asked my friends and family to make donations to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure instead of giving me presents. Their generosity was amazing and together we raised over $2,500! The Komen Race for the Cure people asked me to speak at their annual grant awards lunch. It was the first time I ever gave a speech was a little nervous in front of 200 people, but I had something to talk about because by then, with my friends & family generosity, the total was pushed to over $5,000. And we were just getting started!
By that October and the Race for the Cure, Team Lexi raised over $9,000! I was asked to speak in front of almost 16,000 people at the walk! OMG! I think about that day with a little chuckle now because by 2011 the crowd had grown to over 20,000 people and I didn't think twice about speaking!
I've had the honor of meeting and painting with three world class artists, Romero Britto, Ferdie Pacheco and Andres Conde. When Mr. Britto invited me to his studio to paint together, he played Madonna music and he painted my portrait and gave it to me as a gift - which I will always treasure. We painted a pink ribbon tied in a bow to show what we will be able to do when we find a cure! It was awesome and we raised $10,000 by auctioning it at the walk! In fact, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, Sally Heyman purchased it on behalf of Art in Public Places and I'm very proud about that.
I brought cookies when I went to paint with Ferdie Pacheco, who was first famous as Mohamed Ali's fight doctor! His wife was a world famous Flamenco dancer and Luisita showed me her ivory castanettes when she graciously gave me a tour of their beautiful home and studio. The first thing Ferdie asked me when we looked at the blank canvas he gave me was “what do you see?” Of course, it was a peace symbol! We painted together for hours, and the final product is the kickoff art for the 2009 Peace For The Cure campaign.
Cuban Pop Impressionist Artist, Andres Conde painted with me last year while both my Grandmother and Aunt were in the middle of their Breast Cancer fights. I was so grateful for his sincerity in a tough time for me. He challenged, encouraged and gave me confidence as an artist. In our collaboration, we decided to each sketch our interpretation of my theme "Angels of Hope and Healing" - we came together and BAM. We'd each drawn essentially the same thing - a woman with a heart and an ethereal figure, an angel helping her hold it.
You & Me Today!
I have learned a lot since my trip to Dunkin’ Donuts in December 2006. I have learned you never know where inspiration will come from and how a simple pink donut can make you think about doing something great.
I've also now had my Auntie Mary and my Grandmother diagnosed with breast cancer in the last couple of years. They are beautiful warriors who are in the battle for their lives.
When I began this Art Can Heal project, I thought I was fighting for everyone else's life. But now that I have both sides of my family diagnosed with breast cancer...it is likely that I am fighting for my own life.
I am ready. I hope you'll join me. 2014 / 2015...here we come!