BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - A teenage Make-A-Wish recipient from San Ramon began a four-day art excursion on Thursday.
Eighteen-year-old Ariana Dindzans has a rare genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy. It's a degenerative condition that's kept her in a wheelchair since she was 12 years old.
"If I am always depressed about being disabled it's not going to help anyone. Especially not myself," said Ariana.
Ariana says she's always loved art, but can't always do it. Thanks to Make-A-Wish, Ariana, her parents and sister are on a four-day art exploration road trip to different studios and galleries, from Berkeley to San Luis Obispo. She said she’s excited to explore things she’s not able to do at home.
Arian’s mother, Nancy Dindzans, says her daughter’s outlook is positive and productive. "As she grew she would get a little weaker and it is hard on the heart to see them lose strength. But she has a great attitude about everything, and that has made out easier on us as parents," said Dindzas.
The first stop on Ariana's art tour was The Potters' Studio in Berkeley.
After a tour of the studio, it was time for Ariana to get her hands dirty. She was turning clay into what will soon become a bowl – it's like Play-Doh, only better.
This is the first time this studio has been on a young person's Make-A-Wish list. "It's a special event for us to show what we do to someone who is really interested and wants to learn about it for a while," said Studio Manager James Whiting.
Most people with this disease get progressively worse. But Ariana’s been taking a new medication that seems to be helping.
And this wish is also a bit of a victory lap. Ariana just graduated high school and is planning on attending Sacramento State University in the fall.
"It's a celebration of what I have been through so far," she said.