I’m Erika, an 20-year-old from Lincolnshire living with Muscular Dystrophy. Art has always been my biggest passion, and ‘Handmade By Erika Daisy Wrate’ is my way of sharing that passion with the world - while doing some good for people with Muscular Dystrophy at the same time!
I was born and raised in Skegness, surrounded by countryside, and a short trip from the beach. My house is always full of laughter.
The type of Muscular Dystrophy I have is called Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD) which means that my muscles are weak, and not strong enough to walk. It is a genetic condition, meaning I was born with it. I use a wheelchair to get around and run over all my friends’ toes in the process. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital over the years, but the most major operation came when I was 10. Due to having a curved spine, one of my lungs was being squashed, making me prone to lung infections. I spent ten hours on the operating table, and now I have a massive metal rod in my back!
You can learn more about Muscular Dystrophy in the Muscular Dystrophy Page of my website, but I wanted to share some of my own experiences to show why it’s so important to me and to give some of the profits from this business to Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Muscular Dystrophy is definitely not the most interesting thing about me though! I love music, and I’m always singing around the house, driving my family nuts.
But the thing I have always loved the most is making art. My favourite medium is watercolours, and that is the medium that I use to make most of the artwork for my cards.
I started making cards summer 2019 as a project to keep myself entertained, and I fell in love with the process of taking a single piece of artwork and turning it into a card that can be used to show love to people anywhere. I began by selling to my family and friends, but I’m ready to venture out further with my new subscription service.
I’ve got big dreams for this new business - including expanding to different kinds of products - but as my mum and I always say...
...dreaming is a form of planning.
I have had two major Operations so far in my life, they were the fitting of a Gastrostomy button and scoliosis surgery. I was 10 when I had my Gastrostomy button fitted and 11 when I had my scoliosis surgery. A Gastrostomy button is a feeding device attached to the stomach to feed a child or adult or give liquids e.g. water or medicine. There is a special food supplement called Fresubin which is reliable and nutritional, it can be given orally or through a tummy button. Scoliosis is the curvature of a spine and if you don’t have surgery to straighten it, it could lead to problems such as pressure on the lungs, which is why it was absolutely necessary for me to have the operation. It was a 10 hour operation but was so worth it as I am much more comfortable now and I am prone to less lung infections as they are no longer squashed. I had to have my Gastrostomy operation first as I had to put on a certain amount of weight before they could operate.
In this video, I am working on my fox painting. I begin by mixing red, yellow and orange watercolours to apply my first wash with a number ten round brush. My Muscular Dystrophy limits my hand movement, so my carer moves my palette to help me reach all areas of the paper.