Friday, July 10, 2009


20 Artists Paint Stony Creek Sunday to raise Lyme disease awareness

Published: Thursday, July 9, 2009

By Donna Doherty, Register Arts Editor

Stony Creek Gallery owner Susan Strickland, left, and Madison artist Kim Ruggiero, with one of her cottage paintings, are hosting a plein-aire paint-a-thon and Wet Paint Silent Auction Sunday to fund Lyme disease research. (Mara Lavitt/Register)

BRANFORD — A few years ago, Madison artist Kimberly Ruggiero was so debilitated by the effects of Lyme disease that she couldn’t even get out of bed, never mind paint.Sunday, Ruggiero, her life returned to her by her persistence in getting the right diagnosis and treatment, will be part of Wet Paint Silent Auction, a plein-aire all-day paint-a-thon, hosted by Stony Creek Gallery owner Susan Strickland, also a Lyme disease sufferer.

The fruits of the day of painting (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) around the picturesque Stony Creek area of town will be auctioned off, paint still wet, at a reception (admission $5) at the 152 Thimble Islands Road gallery to raise money for Lyme disease research, specifically the work of University of New Haven biologist and Lyme disease sufferer Eva Sapi, a pioneer in the effects of the borrelia bacteria on the disease.

Twenty artists, including Branford’s Robert Reynolds, Margaret Dean, Hannah Baldwin, Molly McDonald and Maureen Wilkenson, Clinton’s Jan Blencowe and many Connecticut artists who exhibit at Stony Creek Gallery and at Ruggiero’s now-closed Madison gallery, are scheduled to participate.

“I got to be friendly with Kim, and we both have had Lyme disease, and we thought it would be great to do a plein-aire silent-auction fundraiser,” says Strickland, whose experience with the disease was not as harrowing as Ruggiero’s chronic Lyme disease, but just as painful.“It was two years ago, and it was terrible. I was dizzy and had a fever and my joints ached. I thought I had MS,” says Strickland, who tried acupuncture before she was eventually diagnosed and treated with dioxicillin.Ruggiero is on a mission to educate the public about the disease, its diagnosis and treatment, which, as her story relates, is often complicated.“I had to abandon the mainstream medical community to get treatment,” she says, noting that in her quest, she saw “a primary-care physician, a rheumatologist, two neurologists, a cardiologist, urologist and gynecologist.”It started with sore joints and escalated to slurred speech and cognitive problems that an early doctor attributed to a spider bite in 2001. READ MORE at link below

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