Talented Artist Receives Gift of Sight

Talented Artist Receives Gift of Sight
Gift of Sight

Sherry Shedenhelm's artistic talents were first recognized in grade school when she entered and, to her surprise, won a city-wide poster contest. Due to a genetic visual impairment, she never imagined herself being proficient in the field of art; in a young life filled with disability and criticism, she felt “unworthy” of talent or success. Fast forward to her adult life when she attended an art class hosted by a neighboring artist. Sherry soon realized the importance of personality and feelings being incorporated into her artwork. She began painting without fear and aspired to someday have an art show of her own.

Born in Minnesota, Sherry grew up in Iowa, got married, and raised two wonderful and talented daughters. Sherry and her husband Kenn now reside in Morton, IL. She served as a secretary for the Iowa Commission for the Blind and later worked at two independent living centers for people with disabilities as a secretary and as an assistant to the founding president and CEO. “Because of these amazing job opportunities and the people I met, my life was transformed. I learned about communication, connections, and the importance of goals that better our society. I learned self-confidence which changed my approach to artwork.”

Eight years ago, Sherry’s vision went on a “downhill slide” and she was diagnosed with Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy. Needing to have both corneas replaced to restore any hope for vision, Sherry was referred to Dr. Mark Greiner at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Department of Ophthalmology in Iowa City. As challenging as it is to experience the ongoing pandemic, Sherry’s journey through receiving bilateral corneal transplants during the pandemic has been even more challenging. Yet she remains incredibly grateful for her restored sight and is inspired to resume her artistic passion. “I’m beside myself with appreciation for what these heartbroken families did, through the loss of their loved one, to make my life’s pathway possible. Though these gifts come as a result of death, they contribute greatly to the lives of the living and help them realize their hopes and dreams. That is priceless.”

Sherry's painting titled "Winter Grace", shown below, is featured on Iowa Lions Eye Bank's 2020 holiday card.