Faces of the Foundation: Aaron

If you’ve been to the EFGC office lately, there is a good chance you know Aaron. At the very least, you know his artwork. Aaron, originally from Hillside, IL, is an extremely skilled painter whose work has been displayed at several art shows. His artistic abilities have given him the opportunity to meet multiple prominent figures from the Chicagoland area, including Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch, Hillside Mayor Joseph Tamburino, and Broadview Mayor Katrina Thompson. Aaron is eager to share his work and happy to have it add a little color to the Foundation’s resource center. His paintings of various Chicago skylines provide a vibrant look of the city and serve as a nice contrast across the room.

Aaron has an associate degree in arts from Triton College. This journey began in 2009 and had its challenges. Aaron began having seizures as a freshman. Initially, he did not know what they were. He thought he was having a stroke. Once it was determined that he had a seizure disorder, to better take care of his health, he become a parttime student. Frustrated that he wouldn’t graduate on time, he leaned on the advice of his school counselor, practiced yoga, and fortunately was given medication that helped controlled his seizures.

In 2019, Aaron became involved with the Foundation. He started attending support groups and received counseling. He’s grateful for the help he has received, including challenges navigating SSI.

“I accepted the fact that I had to take baby steps,” Aaron says. “I did and saw myself as lucky to be alive. I was a fighter.”

“EFGC gave me a voice,” Aaron says. “It also helped me realize that I am not the only one.”

Aaron knows the best steps he can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He makes sure to take his medication and tries to stay positive. If things become overwhelming, he calms himself down by creating art, visiting museums, taking walks and not focusing on the negative things. Being able to talk to others who have epilepsy has been extremely helpful. The friendships he has built and the support he has received have made him more comfortable with challenges that he may face.

“It’s important to stay active and listen to others. I can do that at the Foundation.”

Aaron is intent on “enjoying life to the fullest” and takes pride in what he has done. When he sees his artwork on display, including at the Foundation, he is reminded of what he has achieved.

“This is something I have accomplished and it’s here for everyone to enjoy too.”

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