CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Palmer Horton is happiest when she’s got a paint brush in her hand. At the young age of six her colorful outlook on life is getting results for fighters living with cystic fibrosis.
“I love to do art,” said Palmer with her smock on.
“This is one of the few things where she gets to be her age,” said Mallery Horton, Palmer’s mom.
Palmer is a proud big sister and artist. She’s also a fighter.
“She’s been through trials and tribulations more than most people will ever go through,” said Horton as she watched Palmer paint.
Doctors diagnosed Palmer with cystic fibrosis when she was two days old. It’s a hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
“Everyone with cystic fibrosis has different issues and she has a lot unfortunately but she handles them with grace and strength,” Horton said.
Through nine hospital stays and six emergency surgeries, Palmer’s spirit always shines through.
“When it’s your child you just dive in and figure it out,” said Horton. At the time, she and her husband didn’t know anything about the disease. They quickly connected with the Charlotte chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Horton says her daughter gets to be a care-free kid when she’s working on her art. Katie Breaux helps her do just that. She opened the doors of her studio, Small Hands Big Art in South Charlotte for a special project Palmer is working on.
“We have been connected with cystic fibrosis because my niece fought it for a long time,” said Breaux. After bravely fighting for years, Breaux’s niece, Gracelyn, lost her fight when she was 12-years-old.
Breaux paints with fighters like Palmer to give them a creative outlet and an escape from treatments and appointments. The masterpiece they are working on will be auctioned off during this year’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Master Chefs event. Last year, the painting the duo finished sold for $36,000. The money supports research and treatments through the foundation.
“One of the biggest gifts that’s come to me is seeing the advances in treatments, therapies and medicines that has redeemed the journey in a way I didn’t know would have been possible. When we see money raised that makes an impact it is not money that I could have raised on my own,” said Breaux.
“She has no concept of $36,000 but we told her it was a really, really big deal,” said Horton. “We are so grateful to the generous people who bought it and support the foundation,” she added.
Horton knows that her daughter has benefited from treatments and therapies through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“My hopes and dreams for Palmer are that she can live a long, healthy and unburdened life free from therapies. I would love to take that burden off of her,” said Horton.
Palmer’s creative heart is also creating a better chance at life for fighters just like her.
The Master Chefs event has raised more than $5 million to find a cure for the rare and life-shortening disease.
For more information about the non-profit and the work that’s being done to find a cure visit https://www.cff.org/Charlotte/