Reno artist living out his dreams, despite disability

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 10:26 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Snow skiing, skydiving, or running marathons, Connor Fogal is doing it all!

“He’s more adventurous than most of us in the family, he’s pretty crazy,” Sylvia Fogal, Connor’s older sister said.

Not only is he a daredevil, but he’s also a killer artist.

“His disability really means nothing in the grand scheme of everything that he does.”

Sylvia Fogal, Connor's older sister

27 years ago, Connor was born with Cerebral Palsy, a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture due to abnormal brain development, and immediately adopted into the Fogal family.

Sylvia added, “Aside from the normal ups and downs of sibling rivalry or arguments, we were all very close and still all are best friends.”

He found his love for painting nearly 15 years ago, learning from a man who is also disabled. Because of Connor’s condition, he had to come up with a unique way to pursue his passion.

“It progressed from painting using a paintbrush in his mouth to the headgear, which I think has to be that much more difficult,” Sylvia said.

Connor graduated from the University of Nevada in 2016 and started his own business soon after.

Sylvia added, “He’s selling his art and every year makes a calendar and donates part of the proceeds to a nonprofit organization or helping people in different natural disasters.”

“I love to give back,” Connor said. He later created an advocacy organization called My Life On Wheels, or MyLow. It raises awareness for other people with disabilities and creates funding for disabled kids, teenagers, and adults to attend ski schools in the region. The organization is solely funded by his artwork sales.

Simply put, this young man is so much more than what others see at first glance.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover because once you get to know them, you kind of like forget that they are disabled.”

Connor Fogal, Local Artist

Silvia added, “He’s amazing and it just shows you that on any regular day, what you’re going through is not really a big deal. and if Connor can push through every barrier that’s ever been in front of him and continue to do such amazing things that the rest of us should follow suit.”

Connor is a perfect reminder to be kind to everyone you meet, and remember you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter your battle.

You may spot some of his pieces on display around the Biggest Little City in the World, including Smiling With Hope Pizza, Salon 215 South, and Blessings Thrift Store.

To shop his artwork, click here.

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