At the historic Watkins Glen International raceway in New York on August 4, Sheridan College student Mikayla Bianchin watched as NASCAR driver #88 Alex Bowman took to the track in a helmet she designed. The 18-year-old artist, who is studying in the Bachelor of Illustration program, created a look for Bowman that brings awareness to cystic fibrosis, the progressive disease with which she lives.
The opportunity arose for Bianchin as the winner of the Accelerate the Cure contest, an initiative by CARSTAR, the largest network of collision repair professionals in North America and a long-time supporter of CF initiatives. Anyone in North America who lives with CF or is affected by the disease through a family member or friend was invited to submit a design that illustrates what a cure for CF would mean to them.
Having a special connection to the artistic challenge made it a straightforward yet rewarding design process for Bianchin. “I feel so inspired when I can connect to my art on such a deep level,” she said. “I typically do landscapes and portraits, so I was excited by the uniqueness of this project.” This isn’t the first time Bianchin has been involved in a CF-related project. For many years Bianchin and her family have been advocates with CF Canada, participating in various speaking opportunities and fundraisers.
Photo: NASCAR driver Alex Bowman and Sheridan Illustration student and Cystic Fibrosis advocate Mikayla Bianchin posing with the helmet she designed. Photo by Dale Ross, NASCAR.