Annie is a very special little girl. She has this delightful smile that captivates you the moment you see her. She is shy at first but warms quickly if you just give her a chance to take the lead. She probably gets this from her mother Kimberly, because Kimberly is very annimated and easy to talk to. The family lives in Kingsville, Ontario, Canada.
Kimberly sensed almost from the day Annie was born that something wasn't quite right. As i turned out, she and her husband Dave learned that Annie has CF, cystic fibrosis, a lung disorder that can affect other parts of the body. Tests later proved that Kimberly also has CF; she's a carrier.
I learned about Annie through an article written by Pat Bailey, an editor with the Leamington Post, a local newspaper, with a photo of Annie, from which I painted the portrait above. Pat wrote about Annie being selected as one of ten finalists in the US and Canada in the Downy's Little Champ contest. The lucky winner and his or her family would get an all-expenses-paid trip to the Olympics just completed in London, England. I contacted the paper and got permission to use their photo to paint Annie's portrait.
And guess what: Annie WON the prize! They got to go to the Olympics. I actually began Annie's portrait as a surprise for her and her family back in June, simply because it seemed like a cool thing to do. With a smile like Annie's, how could I not! I finished the painting and called the Post - Pat arranged for me to present my painting to the family. They had just returned from their exciting trip to the Olympics.
The look on Annie's face when I gave her the painting said it all for me. Talk about a feel-good day.
You can learn more about Annie and her battle against CF by going to her website at