Artist creates pieces to raise money for ailing mother

October 2, 2015

During an extremely overwhelming and challenging time in his life, Zac Bender, of Benson, N.C., turned to art for comfort. Sadly, Zac has witnessed not just one, but both of his parents battle life-threatening illnesses.

What began as a personal project to lift his father’s spirits while he was undergoing treatment for a bone marrow transplant, has now turned into Project Manimals—a fundraising project for his mother, who is awaiting a lifesaving kidney transplant.

While sitting in a clinic with his father, who is now on the road to recovery, an idea hit him. “I saw this sketchbook that had 50 pages, and then a light bulb came on. I knew we would be going through the treatments for up to 6 weeks so I figured why not try to keep his spirits up one day at a time,” said Zac.

“Drawing from my memories of friends, family, and situations, with each sketch, I tried to leave a piece of me in them.”

Now, as his mother, Gladys Bender, battles end-stage renal failure, he’s determined for his art to help once again.

“She always supported me and pushed me even when she was working three jobs and going to college. She has always been there for me. I can’t idly sit and watch her suffer,” explains Zac.

The average kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health insurance, which will cover a portion of the transplant costs, Gladys will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications for the rest of her life, and they are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself.

To help offset his mom’s medical costs, Zac began a fundraising campaign through IndieGoGo to fund a book of his Project Manimals prints, a series of unique, artistic interpretations of animals doing human things.
Just two days after the campaign began, Zac has already raised $1,900—he’s more than halfway to his initial goal!

All proceeds from Project Manimals will go to NFT to help with his mother’s transplant-related expenses.

To make a donation to support Zac’s fundraising campaign, visit his IndieGoGo site.

To read more about Gladys and her battle with kidney disease, please visit her NFT fundraising page.