DARIEN, Conn. — When it comes to the watercolor paintings by Karen Condron, which will be on display in Darien throughout May, there's more than meets the eye.
An art opening and wine and cheese reception in her honor will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Darien Rowayton Bank, 1001 Post Road, Darien.
Those who view her art will be surprised to learn that she has Bulbar-Onset ALS and is able to paint with only one good hand.
As a young woman and accomplished concert violinist, Condron won a full scholarship to Hofstra University to study biology. As a mother and promotional products entrepreneur, she earned record sales, high-profile franchises, and loyal customers.
But as a new grandmother, she was confronted with a diagnosis of Bulbar-Onset ALS. She was told to do whatever she wanted in life within the next two months.
Seven years later, even In the face of this terrible disease, her spirit is still strong: She exercises, she maintains over 600 active accounts despite loss of speech and she paints watercolors.
Her dynamic spirit and her love of Connecticut’s shoreline flow from her brushes onto her paper every Sunday afternoon.
So it follows that Condron does more than paint with her paint.
She has also started a 501(c)3 foundation, the Karen Condron Spirit Foundation. Contributions and proceeds from her art go directly to support the work of the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at John Hopkins University and the Eleanor & Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University.
Advised by Newman’s Own, the Karen Condron Spirit Center has been set up in a similar format to the Paul Newman Foundation.
She and her husband, Jim, have established a business entity to fund the foundation and generate sustainable revenue for ALS research.
Using their 30 years of experience in the promotional products industry and their relationships with the largest suppliers and logistical services in the business, they have established an online store: KarenSpiritCenter.com .
The net profit will go directly to fund ALS research at the Packard Center and Columbia University and other pro-actively selected ALS clinics and services.