Spring Hill, Florida – Christian Daigle makes broad brushes of blue as he puts the finishing touches on his painting. "I'm painting the landscape, which is water," he explains.
The painting depicts a prehistoric shark called a Megalodon. For a 12-year-old, it's pretty exciting stuff.
"Those sharks were humongous," says Christian, spreading his arms wide.
And while Christian enjoys painting, for him, this is also physical therapy.
You see, Christian was born a "righty", but he must now wield the paintbrush in his left hand.
"The edges are the tricky part," he says—carefully bringing blue close the shark's grey outline.
Each stroke for Christian is difficult, because he's had a stroke.
"It was all beginning on December 2, 2009," he recalls. "Suddenly, I fell backwards and couldn't say a word."
Initially, the stroke left Christian unable to speak and completely paralyzed on his right side. But a lot of hard work over the past five years has paid off. You can see it on the street as he pedals his bike and when he paints on the canvas.
Christian's work featuring colorful sea creatures as well as art from other stroke survivors will make up a special art show on Friday. It's called Strokes for Stroke and organizers say it's all about creating art and awareness.
"Stroke is a significant risk factor for us," says Dr. Gul Dadlani of All Children's Hospital. "It's the number one cause of preventable disability in the United States."
As for Christian, he paints positive prospects. "I'm destined to do more things in the future," he proclaims.
And it's that kind of "can do" attitude that leaves his mother Anna Daigle shaking her head with admiration. "He's become my teacher and also my hero."
For more information on Friday's Strokes for Stroke art show click here. 10 News anchor Dion Lim hosted the event.