The cover art for our 2023 holiday card is by Rebecca Koltun, a 24-year-old whose community has been fundraising with Help Hope Live since a March 2021 skiing accident left Rebecca with paralysis from the neck down.
During these first two years of recovery, Rebecca has used her humor, intelligence, and creativity to pursue new pathways of self-expression and awareness.
“For me, getting through the day is often through the art of distraction,” explained Rebecca. Over time, that desire for constant activity morphed into a consistent creative outlet that brings joy and positivity into the lives of others.
Rebecca began mouth-painting while receiving recreational therapy as part of inpatient rehabilitation. She used each color sequence and painting theme to express a different emotion that she had experienced during her SCI recovery journey.
Today, she successfully sells her artwork through in-person fundraisers and online through her MadebyMouth Etsy shop.
Through mouth-painting, social media, and other creative avenues, Rebecca draws friends, community members, and even strangers deeper into her world and illuminates the reality of life with quadriplegia—with its struggles, breakthroughs, absurdity, humor, and everything else.
Fundraising remains a critical part of her journey with Rebecca’s SCI-related costs exceeding $200,000 per year out-of-pocket. As her parents explained, “If we did not have an additional source of funding, Rebecca may not have been able to live outside of a hospital.”Written by Emily Progin