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August 07, 2014

Craig alumna finds peace through art

Emi Takada has a gift for drawing and painting things from the natural world.

The college student from Colorado Springs was climbing in a tree to get a better look at a bird nest to sketch when the branch she was standing on broke. She was left with a broken tailbone and an incomplete spinal cord injury, and was afraid she wouldn’t practice her art again.

At Craig Hospital, she was introduced to the Therapeutic Recreation Department (T-Rec), and found confidence, acceptance, and all the supplies she needed to get back to painting.

The donor-funded T-Rec program uses sport, recreation and leisure opportunities to re-engage patients and their families with life and meet important therapeutic goals.

“My rec therapist learned I was into art and she showed me all of the supplies I could use,” says Takada. “Art was a healthy way for me to get away from all the doctors and the medical things.”

While at Craig, Takada visited T-Rec every day, working on painting small canvases with acrylics. She also participated in several T-Rec community outings. She found that being surrounded by her art supplies brought her peace. “When I first got to Craig, I was really bitter and didn’t have hope,” she says. “But coming down to T-Rec gave me some normalcy and helped restore my sense of who I am.”

She gave many of her small canvases to her nurses and techs in appreciation for the care they gave her. “If they could make my day, it’s only fair that I make theirs,” she says.

She hopes to one day study nursing and return to Craig as a caregiver—while creating art on the side.

According to Claire Cahow, certified therapeutic recreation specialist, Emi was an encouragement to other inpatients, and pushed others to explore T-Rec activities. “People were drawn to her because she was doing such beautiful things; she’s a great advocate for what we do here.”

Emi Takada 3 Emi Takada 6

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To view or purchase Takada’s artwork, visit society6.com/emilydarling.

“When I first got to Craig, I was really bitter and didn’t have hope,” she says. “But coming down to T-Rec gave me some normalcy and helped restore my sense of who I am.”

Emi Takada
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