Department: Speak Up
Elisabeth Preble is a 20-year-old art major at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. Her digital photo triptych entitled “Entropy” is the winner of the 2007 Neurology Now Art Contest. The judges were impressed by her vivid, concrete expression of what it's like to live with a neurological condition—in Elisabeth's case, a degenerative neuromuscular disease called distal motor neuropathy, which affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and weakens the arms and legs. “I didn't wear shorts or skirts for more than a year after being diagnosed in 2005,” Elisabeth remembers. “I didn't want people to see the braces. In creating the photos, I was thinking about how easy it is for me to hide my condition compared to lots of other people. I've started wearing shorts and skirts again, and so I was also trying to get across what it feels like when people focus only on my braces instead of all the other things that make up who I am. My condition is not my whole life—it's a part of who I am, but it doesn't define me.” Congratulations to Elisabeth, and to all of the inspiring people who sent us their art.