Watching a loved one suffer from ALS and using art to cope
SARASOTA - ALS slowly takes away someone's ability to do things like eating, walking, and speaking.
"It can be very devastating for a teen or young adult to watch a loved one go through a terminal illness," Art Therapist Erika Mayer said.
She says art helps to express emotions we can't find words for. Mayer is encouraging art as a tool to cope with the far reaching effects of ALS, which Tess Cohen felt watching her father suffer.
"I feel like it was just getting away from me, so I really turned to documentary film making, which I was studying at the time," Cohen said.
She used it to document her father's life with ALS.
"..as a tool to help me move with it and sort of be present with the experience and not let it wash over me," Cohen said.
She captured everything from daily rituals like brushing his teeth and eating, to showing the progression of his disease over time.
Cohen says for her, the process was healing.
"Especially now that I have hours and hours of footage of him that can never be erased, I feel really lucky," Cohen said.
Mayer's encouraging other young adults to get creative.
"This program 'Also Us' empowers young people impacted by the disease to share their stories through art," Mayer said.
To learn more about the program click here.