21-year-old with special needs auctions art to fund indoor park

WEST JORDAN, Utah — A young woman in West Jordan wants to help build an indoor special needs amusement park, and she is raising money for it in a unique way — by selling her paintings.

Kimmie Hansen is doing this despite living with a rare disorder herself.

On Friday evening, Kimmie sat at her family's kitchen table, mixing paint colors in a cup.

She slowly poured in dark blue — her favorite color — then some green, white and light blue.

Kimmie's mom Kris helped by tilting and turning the canvas to spread the paint colors around.

"Now where do you want to do it?" Kris asked. Kimmie indicated she wanted it turned sideways.

Then came time for Kimmie's favorite part — shaking on lots of glitter.

It's a good day when Kimmie gets to create her art.

On bad days, Kimmie can't do much of anything. Kris said Kimmie gets a lot of seizures, with a big one every four to five days. She can't walk or barely lift her head. She stays in bed the whole day or is confined to her wheelchair.

Kimmie has a rare epilepsy disorder called Dravet Syndrome, as well as Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome (SMAS), which blocks her intestines. She can't eat, and instead gets nutrition through a feeding tube.

At 21 years old, Kris said Kimmie is developmentally six years old. Her family doesn't know how much longer Kimmie will live.

"She's been struggling a lot lately," Kris said. "It's not good. They don't have a whole lot we can do for her anymore. So, we're just enjoying every day."

Kimmie has been able to enjoy life thanks to charities and organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Mascot Miracles Foundation.

Felix the Falcon is Kimmie's favorite mascot. He also happens to be her favorite color — blue.

But instead of just letting these organizations help Kimmie and her family out, Kimmie is the one giving back to them.

She does it through her art.

"To help raise money for the park," Kimmie said, of what she does with her paintings. "For other people."

"Does it make you happy?" Kris asked Kimmie. "Yeah," Kimmie answered.

She recently auctioned off three paintings at the Mascot Miracles Foundation gala, and raised $5,000 for an indoor amusement park for special needs kids that Kris said is expected to be built in Eagle Mountain.

Kimmie has plans for the two paintings she created on Friday.

"Maybe raise some more money," she said.

Kris said Kimmie has also raised money to build a park in West Jordan, for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Miss Amazing and for epilepsy awareness.

Kimmie doesn't know how long she'll live, but that didn't matter on Friday.

Because Friday was a good day. Kimmie got to paint. She also got to dress up in her favorite dress — in her favorite color blue, of course — to go to homecoming at South Valley School, a school for special needs students.

"I love it," Kimmie said, standing confident in a princess-like, dark blue sparkle gown.

And Kimmie will continue to do what she can, to give back to the organizations that have helped her.

"She wants to be out there and wants to be in the community, and wants to be doing and helping and being there," Kris said. "And so, every minute that she lives, she really lives it."

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