Reference Point

Spring 2014

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Up-close and personal Lay-Dorsey, who lives in Detroit, was diagnosed with progressive MS in 1988. Since her diagnosis, she has used art and poetry to process her feelings about her condition. Janet Danek, CMU Libraries' coordinator of exhibits, says she hoped people would connect with Lay-Dorsey through common life experiences. "Through her art, she quite courageously reveals the challenges caused by MS that she faces each day, just to live," Danek says. "But MS is only one aspect of her very rich life. Her enthusiasm for life, learning and people is infectious and inspiring." For the past five-and-a-half years Lay- Dorsey worked on an intensive self-portrait project documenting her life to show the life of a disabled person from an "insider" perspective. Fifty of those images were compiled into her book, "Falling into Place." Lay-Dorsey hopes this book and the exhibited self-portraits will educate viewers about the reality of life with a disability, as well as inspire those living with their own challenges. Her photos were displayed in Park Library through the end of March, which was National MS Awareness Month. I didn't know anything about MS before the presentation … I definitely want to learn more about different disabilities now and see how people live with their disabilities. I know Patricia says that she's obsessive with taking the right photo and will try until she gets it perfect. It's just very impressive that she's come out with all these great photos with so many trials and errors that she has to go through. - Monique Belser • Photojournalism • Detroit, Mich. - Erin King • Physical Therapy • Middleville, Mich. - Danielle Duval • Journalism • Fenton, Mich. The biggest thing I took away is that you don't have to let this disease ruin your life. Patricia still is able to live out her passion, and she has found a way to adapt and make it work. 11

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