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Texas artist battles spinal cord injury through painting

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HOUSTON — He lost the use of his limbs but found a love for art — now a local artist is on a mission to help others with spinal cord injuries.

Jared Dunten is on a mission of hope.

If you think of art as the expression of the beauty inside an artist’s soul, you will understand why Dunten’s creations are so special.

“Physically it’s pretty tough, because I hold a paint brush in a wooden dow — that’s in my mouth,” Dunten said.

A diving accident robbed his body of the ability to move from the neck down, but his mind was blessed with the gift of hope.

“I really thought I’d be up and walking in about 6 to 8 months — nine years later that is still the goal,” he said.

Deep in his sorrow, he found art as a battle cry for spinal cord research. He’s working to raise money for the first human clinical trial of stem cell therapy.

“Without a doubt, I can’t even conceive of a future of me not walking,” Dunten said.

His clenched jaw is a symbol of his strong will to carry on — never losing sight of the message he hopes you’ll see in his art.

“That there is that possibility of walking and they hear the story and they know to keep going on — getting out there being heard,” he said.

Dunten serves as an example.  In his words — he plans to paint himself out of his chair. Five of Dunten’s paintings are on display in the Houston hospital where he recovered.

He and his friends have started a foundation to support research into spinal cord injuries.

by Christine Haas /

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