Apple-A-Thon Press Release

Apples For AS


Artist Jennifer Dye Visscher, creator of “The Feeding Edge” web site and co-creator of the “Hope and Apples” campaign to raise AS awareness, is today announcing a new fund raising initiative to help educate doctors in Pakistan about the chronic degenerative inflammatory disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis.

The fund-raiser will take place on September 30th, 2011, the date on which Ms. Visscher will end her year-long art project, “An Apple a Day to raise AS Awareness.”  The project has been a fruitful one; Ms Visscher, or Jenna, as she is known to her friends, has created a new painting every single day since October 1, 2010, featuring some variation of an apple.

These beautiful, stylized apples graced the cover of this year’s Annual Report of the Spondylitis Association of America, became a popular meme during the run-up to World AS Day in May and were used as the emblem for the Australian Physiotherapy’s educational seminar series that went LIVE via global web-cast earlier this year.  Her apples have been adopted all across the social media landscape as a symbol of the fight to raise Ankylosing Spondylitis awareness worldwide.

According to the CDC, Ankylosing Spondylitis may affect as many as 2.4 million Americans.  It is said to affect nearly 33 million people worldwide.

The apple was chosen by Jenna as her inspirational theme for a number of reasons; not the least of which was the old saying, “An Apple a Day keeps the doctor away”, which continues to resonate in this day and age because of the apple’s anti-inflammatory properties and its recent super food classification.  It also helps that the image of an apple is something Jenna could create over and over again with new and different styles, motifs and colors.

As of today, Jenna has created 263 apples over the past 9 months in every form from collage to pastel to acrylics, often with pop culture and historical references and motivational quotes as her inspiration. You can see a picture of today’s art-apple-a-day by visiting Jenna’s blog at:

Jenna’s plans for the final day of her project, include a marathon 24 hour paint-a-thon. She and a team of volunteers will endeavor to paint as many art apples as possible in a 24 hour period to raise funds to help send a medical educational team to Pakistan to train and educate General Practitioners and physiotherapists in that country about the diagnosing and treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity to actually make a difference in people’s lives. Dealing with the effects of AS can be difficult, even in places with great medical facilities and highly trained doctors.  In countries like Pakistan, there are much fewer options for treatment and less information on hand. But AS knows no boundaries, and it can have a much more devastating effect if left untreated.”

To raise funds to send the team, Jenna is asking Tweeps on twitter verse to donate just $1.00 towards the project with the goal of raising enough funds to send a team of medical specialists to Pakistan to work with the medical establishment there. Currently there are over 200 million people with twitter accounts.

People wishing to make a more substantial donation to her cause can become a sponsor for one or more of the apples painted during the marathon.  A special personal message from Jenna and her team will be drawn on the apple as part of the signature. The price for Sponsoring an apple is only $250.00 plus shipping for an original and unique piece of art.

Fittingly, this final project will take place in ‘the Big Apple’, New York City, and the entire marathon will be streamed to Jenna’s Facebook page so that people can post encouragement and cheer her on as she completes what has been an incredible 365 day commitment to raising AS awareness through the power of art.




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