healthcare's a pain in the neck...

Anyone who knows renowned artist Nancy Braver cannot imagine her spending more time in hospital than in her art studio.  Instead of creating the whimsical installation and studio art that adorns private and public collections from The Hollywood Hills  to China, she has slowly been losing motor functioning to the point of paralysis.  Still, she laughs (as she always has at the obstacles of life)...yet now it is over the absurdity of how to sculpt when her hands won't always move.

Nancy needs a wheelchair and to convert her home into an accessible live-work space so that she can consistently work again. 

Nancy is talented, yes, and she is also good, funny, and generous to the core.   We are offering her the opportunity to live safely so that she can return to making art that uplifts the places it inhabits.  Whatever you contribute, whether spreading the word or depositing funds, thank you!  And thank you for reading Nancy’s story below….Before/AfterFour years ago, our friend Nancy Braver began slowly and mysteriously losing the ability to move. She would think about lifting an arm to get something and it wouldn't work.  She has since been diagnosed with dysautonomia, an umbrella term referring to medical conditions that cause malfunction of the autonomic nervous system that effects millions.  A complicating factor to Nancy's condition is that Nancy was adopted, and new tests are attempting to determine the extent to which she also has a genetic that was not known because she was adopted as an infant during the 1960's when certain medical history was kept private. Exacerbated by complications from a neck surgery that was intended to treat her condition,  Nancy and her two dogs can no longer stay together in her live-work home studio unless it becomes wheelchair accessible. Sometimes Nancy stands and walks about 20 feet, but most of the time after a few steps her muscles freeze.  Nancy needs to buy a wheelchair and to convert her home into an accessible live-work space.  She also has unexpected medical bills like recent tests at Stanford and Cedars-Sinai that exceed what insurance will cover.  Your donation will get her on solid footing until she can consistently work again.

Nancy is pursuing other resources as well. She works several hours a day with insurance, and is attempting get on a waiting list for HUD housing for persons with disabilities, which, in a system fraught with failure, is estimated to take up to five years. She is selling art (see below). She is also working with legal services to appeal to her insurance company and the State for disability assistance.   
Private Collection, Hollywood Hills 

“The ambiguity between inside and outside creates temporary illusions, defined by vantage point and the viewers own movement.” Nancy Braver, artist statement

Nancy has not left work behind, and knows the long term solution to medical financial strains is in working. She is currently pursuing grants for new work, and is working within her new limitations, for example, by incorporating more drawings, photography and digital media into her artistic vision. Nancy is excited to share her new work with the world. If you want a peek…check her artist website for updates.  

Nancy's medical team agrees:
· humidity, heat, & pollution exacerbate her movement disorder
· the assault on her body has comprimised her connective tissue
· her age (53) prevents her from receiving state support that an older person with a disability would automatically receive

Together, if we can identify 1000 people who will donate $10, $50 or $100, respectively, it will help where insurance can't, and will allow Nancy to live again as a full time artist. 

Thank you for keeping in touch.
Ziggy and Nancy and Cody (below)
This current gofundme goal from Emily, Betsy and Judith is not to be confused with an earlier appeal from from Nancy's friend Judith, archived below...

2014 CAMPAIGN from Judith:
While we can do a lot through exercise and diet to enhance our chances for a long, healthy life, it’s foolhardy to ignore the luck of the draw. I have many, many friends who eat sensibly, take Pilates classes three or four times a week, bike, hike and swim and who still seem to be as vulnerable to disease and pestilence as those of us who roll around in tubs of milk chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Last weekend I visited my friend, Nancy, a talented artist whose sculpture adorns collections from Pasadena to Zhengzhou. Nancy has lived a life of purpose with a keen awareness of the spiritual, physical and mental advantages of good, clean living. I doubt she has ever been more than a pound overweight and since she often supported her art career by working as a massage therapist, she is very knowledgeable about the benefits of regular exercise.

Three years ago, following surgery for a neck injury suffered in a fender bender, Nancy’s run of very severe health problems took off like a rocket. It’s unclear to a passel of neurosurgeons and most of her other medical team members whether her neuromuscular troubles are related to her fender bender and subsequent surgery or if her problems preceded and were aggravated by the surgical procedure. What appears fairly certain is that she risked paralysis and ongoing, crushing pain if she decided to forego aggressive treatment. Even with surgery, homeopathic treatments, medication and various kinds of therapy, since 2013 she has been hospitalized, bedridden, and although finally walking with some assistance, housebound in her little hillside home.

Most difficult of all, when her ordeal began, Nancy became almost instantly dependent the availability and generosity of strangers.

A fiercely independent person prior to her health problems, Nancy has had to grapple with the necessity of accepting help from friends, old and new, from her aged mother, the State of California, various food and service programs and dozens of former clients. She had to sell her car and was agonizing about letting her beloved dogs go when friends stepped in and raised money for their care and for dog walkers. She has had to grow accustomed to state-funded caretakers in her home, depend on friends to drive her to see doctors as far away as Stanford, and accept the therapeutic massages she used to give to others from former colleagues and associates.

Her art career is pretty much on hold (her sculpture was large in scale and required great strength, extensive planning and no small amount of engineering skills to install) and she is now just beginning to attempt very small pencil drawings. She reads and writes with difficulty and it seemed to me after visiting with her for just an hour, she tires easily after even one-on-one conversations.

Dramatic life shifts notwithstanding, Nancy is surprisingly in a pretty wonderful place. As she says, her “life has been turned upside down and the new views are extraordinary”. Never known for being slow of wit, she now seems even smarter and certainly, way funnier than she was when she was a very serious working artist. Although never indifferent to the world around her, she’s clearly learned a lot about what’s important in life and has a profound appreciation these days for both longtime friends and friends she never knew she had. She’s learned to both accept help and ask for it and is bemused by simple revelations about clutter and by the sunshine that backlights dust motes as glistening beams stream through the windows of her rent-controlled Silver Lake home.

We are reaching out to friends and friends of friends to help raise money for Nancy's continued care. We are grateful for however much you can contribute to help Nancy get back on her feet so that she can return to creating her art and walking her dogs.

Thank you for your consideration and love for Nancy.


  • Janine BrownCarvajal 
    • $10 
    • 55 mos
  • David Collier 
    • $250 
    • 55 mos
  • Carrie Reinagel 
    • $75 
    • 55 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 55 mos
  • Dorrit Vered 
    • $25 
    • 55 mos
See all


Betsy Zajko 
Los Angeles, CA
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