La Crescent Boy Semi-Finalist in Tissue Box Design
Source: Battle Creek Enquirer | January 14, 2014
Rylee Schrader, 12, has never really considered herself an artist.
“She didn’t even list art as one of her favorite subjects,” said Rylee’s mom, Jodi. “It’s forensic science, choir, math and gym.”
But, sometimes, circumstances change priorities and today Rylee is in the running to win a national art contest she wasn’t even sure she wanted to enter.
Call it the luck of the drawing.
“She just kind of did it,” Jodi Schrader said.
Rylee’s art was borne of trauma and illness, a chance to express herself in a new way as she learns to live with her November diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
Rylee, who now goes to school in Lansing but who spent nine years in the Lakeview School District, hadn’t been feeling well for weeks.
“She actually was looking on (the health website) WebMD because she wasn’t feeling right and her chest hurt,” her mom said. “A lot of things weren’t adding up. She thought she had pneumonia. So she had a blood test and the doctors came back and said she had to be admitted to the hospital right away.”
That’s when the diagnosis was revealed.
Now she’s dealing with four insulin shots a day, a massive change in her diet and an upheaval for the family that also includes her dad, Bill, and older sister Island Ellerby, who is a student at Michigan State University.
It was while she was in Sparrow Hospital in Lansing that Rylee and her mom learned of a nationwide contest through the Children’s Miracle Network that sought art projects from child patients. Kids would design and color school-based logos as a way to take their minds off their hospital stay.
“She wasn’t feeling very well, but she did it anyway,” Jodi Schrader said.
Earlier this month, while the two were out at a health food store contemplating Rylee’s changing diet brought on by the diabetes, they learned her design was one of 14 finalists. She is the only finalist from Michigan and one of only two from the Midwest (the other is in Wisconsin).
Now public voting is under way to crown the winner and, as of Tuesday afternoon, Rylee’s design was in third place.
“We had a lot of catching up to do,” said Jodi, one-time owner of Conversations Coffee House on Capital Avenue Southwest.
She’s hoping to marshal support in the Battle Creek area from those who knew them to put Rylee over the top. Voting takes place in the White Cloud Facebook page and votes can be cast every hour. Voting closes Jan. 31.
The winning entry will earn a $15,000 donation to the hospital the artist represents. The top three will have their designs appear on White Cloud tissue products.
As for the winning family? There’s a year’s supply of toilet paper, paper towels and tissue.
“We’re trying to get everyone to vote,” Jodi said.