Art show inspires local surfer through lengthy hospital stay for cystic fibrosis

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Stuck in a hospital room battling complications associated with cystic fibrosis this April, a local surfer relied on his artwork to help him pass the time. And thanks to the help of a friend, Jacob Venditti’s most recent hospital stay had a new purpose.

“It gave me a goal to get through being in the hospital,” he said. “It gave me something to look forward to.”

Thanks to an art show organized by friend Jacob Laham, Venditti knew that once his 15-day stay at the University of North Carolina Hospital ended, he would be able to share his work, while also raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The skateboard decks that Venditti painted will part of the “Live Fearlessly” art show, scheduled for Friday, May 24 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Jimmy’s Wrightsville Beach at 5 N. Lumina Ave.

Joining Venditti will be artists that he said he’s looked up to over the years, including Jarred Weinstein, Carleigh Sion, David McGee and Ron Lodzinski. Venditti said each of these artists has a style that fits with beach culture.

While Venditti has paddled out into some of the world’s most challenging waves, including a trip last year to Mexico, he also frequently battles complications from cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that mainly affects the lungs, creating breathing difficulties for even the healthiest of individuals. The pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria that grows in his lungs can make it difficult for him to even walk up the stairs, he said.

Venditti said the art show’s name reflects the attitude that someone who suffers from cystic fibrosis must adopt.

“If you have cystic fibrosis, you have to live fearlessly,” he said. “You have to fight to be healthy.”

There will be a variety of paintings and art available at the show, Venditti said, including the carved and painted skateboards that he created. Several are adorned with roses, representing “65 roses,” which is how children with the diseases are often taught to pronounce it.

Joining the artists at the show will be too musical acts, Reef Blower and Seaform. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the CF Foundation, Venditti said.

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