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This project was successfully funded on June 7, 2014

Arachnoiditis Survivor: A Portrait of Resilience Against Patient Harm In America

by Sheila L. Kalkbrenner


Download Video: Closed Format: MP4 Open Format: OGG / WebM

UPDATE: To keep the $830 raised as of May 17th, the AIM Hatchfund campaign objectives for Arachnoiditis Survivor have been revised. 

Plan B:

New Deadline: June 6, 2014

New Minimum Goal: $2,500

New Direction: Funding will cover the cost of supplies & materials for portraits and an arachnoiditis awareness art exhibit. Any additional funds will help with travel expenses for face time interviews with arachnoiditis survivors. 

Please view my updated pitch video here.

Thank you so much for your support!!!

I have been an artist for twenty years. I am a NYS certified teacher and US Army veteran who was working full-time as an after school program manager when I developed spinal adhesive arachnoiditis of the lumbar and thoracic spine that was caused by the off label use of 5% lidocaine with epinephrine for single injection spinal anesthesia during a routine knee arthroscopy in March of 2007. (This formula is NOT FDA approved for spinal injections.) It left me permanently disabled at the age of 37. I have learned to adapt to keep on living and that I am NOT the ONLY one. I would like to share what I have learned with other members of the Arachnoiditis Survivor Community.Through art, I have achieved my Physical and Vocational Rehabilitation goals. I finally own my own art studio and opened it to the public in 2013. I can only be vertical for three hours at a time. So, I use the Ostrich Cot to draw portraits and complete other projects here. Now that I am established, I would like to start doing conceptual portraits of other survivors as a way to empower them, to exchange ideas for Reasonable Accommodations, and to tell our story. 

Your tax deductible contribution will provide funding to enable me to travel to other arachnoiditis survivors who have volunteered to participate in this conceptual portrait seriesArachnoiditis has caused my central nervous system to perceive cold as pain. I would like to do as much of the travel portion of the project during the warm season. PLEASE DONATE NOW. 

The digital photography obtained during these travels around the United States will be used to document the reality of this permanent disability, the methods survivors use to adapt to it, and the scars it leaves behind. A personal interview and digital photo of the survivor will also be used as reference material to create a graphite on paper conceptual portrait depicting the humanity which still resides within the "patient". These portraits will be completed using the Ostrich Cot and other Arachnoiditis-friendly Reasonable Accommodations implemented at SheilaLynnK Art Studio. This collection of portraits will then be paired with the digital photographs to be shown in an exhibit dedicated to Arachnoiditis Awareness and Prevention. Each Survivor Volunteer will receive a Signed Print of his/her Conceptual Portrait to keep.

$2,500 covers the estimated cost for me to travel in person to photograph and interview the first five Survivor Volunteers who choose to participate. Every additional dollar covers the cost of supplies and increases the number of participants. You have the power to expand the reach of the project and its message. Regardless of how often we have all been treated otherwise, it is my sincere wish to remind other Arachnoiditis Survivors of the inherent humanity we all possess. Arachnoiditis cannot take that away.

Your support of this large undertaking is greatly appreciated!!!


Match Funds are not currently available.

Previous donations matched by:

    • May 20, 2014 Sheila L. Kalkbrenner Artist

      The New Pitch Video link above seems to have an error. Here it is again:

    • April 06, 2014 Sheila L. Kalkbrenner Artist

      Jones Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Services in Wellsville, NY has been a key component in my rehabilitation efforts. Without the open-minded approach provided by the dedicated staff [Gary Mann, FNP, Brenda Szabo, and Billy Carstens,D.O.] willing to consult with other experienced professionals regarding the treatment/management of Spinal Adhesive Arachnoiditis, it is likely I would still be struggling to find appropriate care. Visit JMH here:

    • April 03, 2014 Sheila L. Kalkbrenner Artist

      Ostrich Products thanks so much for your donation!