Tyra Pederson was always an athlete.
“She was super active, constantly playing with my nephews,” said her sister, Kristin Pederson. “She played basketball, she played softball, in college she always did intramurals,”
Sports was how Tyra spent her time, but from the court to the canvas, her talent was transparent.
“She was never still unless she was painting,” said Pederson.
Life was picture perfect until around five years ago.
“I’ve always had an arm and Tyra’s been able to catch anything I threw. It was Easter and she kept dropping it,” said Kristin. “That’s one of the reasons we knew she had ALS, she wasn’t able to catch the football anymore and we were like what?”
Pederson was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease when she was 34.
“The Mayo Clinic basically just told her I’m sorry,” said Kristin. “And sent the nurse in with some pamphlets and right away told her, this is your life expectancy, which is three-five years. She just passed the five-year mark.”
Tyra now speaks through a machine.
“Over the last five years, I have had things that I love taken from me with the expectation that they would never return,” said Tyra. “It is something I have had to accept.”
Pederson learned to accept some things, but not everything.
“We put the brush in the brace, and it turns out she was pretty darn good,” said Pederson.
Her favorite subject is obvious. With the flick of her foot, her family and friends fur children come to life.
“Just even the day I suggested it, she had this little light and got excited,” said Kristin.
Painting is Tyra’s therapy and a way for her to thank those who have supported her through her diagnosis.
“Discovering that I could paint again has changed my perspective,” said Tyra. “That things can evolve. It’s not about looking behind, I have something to look forward to.
Tyra is not sure when her time will come, but through canvas and courage, her legacy will live one.