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Posted: August 13, 2013 9:02 p.m.

Painting event raises funds for teen

An artist who organized a painting fundraiser earlier this month to benefit a Newton High School student who was injured during a wrestling match last year said more than $500 was raised to help him and his family.

Southern Heartland Art Gallery artist Ann Wildmon held a painting class to raise money for the family of Tyler Head on Aug. 3.

Tyler, 16, suffered a spinal cord injury during a match on Dec. 29, and underwent emergency surgery at the Atlanta Medical Center. After his surgery, Tyler was taken to the Shepherd Spinal Center, where he continues to go through intense rehabilitation and therapy.

Wildmon said the $575 raised at the benefit was used to purchase dozens of gas cards for the family, who make daily trips to the spinal center for Tyler’s physical therapy.

Wildmon said the fundraiser had great participation from the community.

"The benefit was a fun time. We painted "Tulips on a Window Sill" in approximately four hours," Wildmon said. "The group had a really great time."

Tyler’s dad, Archie, spent time with Tyler that night so that his mom, Deborah, could also participate in the painting class, Wildmon said.

Wildmon said she has known the Head family for 19 years. Living in the same neighborhood, she said, they have watched each other’s children grow up. Wildmon said she would do anything for the Heads.

"Community is what you make it. Being involved and building relationships in your community only makes you stronger," Wildmon said. "Life is going to throw you curveballs in your lifetime, and it’s crucial to have an army of friends to help you stand strong."

Mrs. Head sent the following email regarding those who participated in the painting class:

"We are truly overjoyed with the gift cards. Not having to buy gas for a few weeks will be a big help. It is very important for Tyler’s recovery that he goes to Shepherd Center for therapy every day," she wrote.

"Once more God has blessed us with your gift. Thank you to everyone who gave and/or participated in the painting event at Southern Heartland Art Gallery. They are good people. We pray God blesses each one of you."

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