Final Salute: Artist brushed disability aside Final Salute
Saturday, October 20, 2007
BY JOSE PAUL CORONA, Columbian Staff Writer
Viola Marie Henne didn't have use of her hands, but she still managed to
paint picturesque and serene artwork.
She did it by holding a brush in her mouth. She also wrote that way.
"Her core body was in tremendous good health," said Joyce Land, Henne's
friend and longtime caregiver.
Henne also had a set of strong teeth. She could use them to pick up a
25-pound sack of cat food and carry it into her house with ease, Land said.
Viola Marie Henne died at her Vancouver home Sept. 20. She was 81.
Henne was without the use of her hands since birth. She had arthrogryposis, a
rare congenital disorder that causes multiple joint contracture and is
characterized by muscle weakness.
"She couldn't even scratch a mosquito off her face," Land said.
But that didn't seem to matter.
Henne's feet stood in for her hands while growing up, her friend said.
Her condition required numerous surgeries. Those operations eventually
prevented her from using her feet as much. So when it came time to paint, Henne
put the paint brush in her mouth.
Henne's artwork allowed her to support herself. She received a monthly
stipend from the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World.
The association is based in the Western European principality of
Liechtenstein. It paid Henne for her artwork and put it on greeting cards that were then
sold, Land said.
"That's how she made her living for years," Land said.
Henne was very proud of the fact that she was never on welfare, her friend
She lived with another friend and her cats, Reeda and Kinky, but she did all
she could to take of herself. She dressed herself and even devised a way to
comb her hair.
Henne attached a board to her bathroom door and then affixed a brush to the
board. She would then comb her hair, stop to check it in the mirror and
continue until she was done.
She was a very determined and happy person, Land said.
"Her handicap did not handicap her or her personality. Never once in 18 years
did I see her angry or crabby," Land added.
I know some of you were wondering what the life span of a person with AMC
acctualy is so when I read this I had to pass it on.
Traci (Tucker's Mom 9 years old with AMC, in Central Ca.)
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