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Mom and daughter inspire each other to overcome adversity and live creatively

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VICTORIA, B.C. -

To appreciate how Charlotte Friend ended-up painting unexpectedly, we need to go back to where she began raising her daughter Becca optimistically.

“She was awesome!” Charlotte smiles before pointing to a photo of a beaming baby with fuzzy red hair. “It was (our second child) and I knew what I was doing. (Or so) I thought. “

Becca’s struggles with walking led to her being diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy, which felt devastating.

“I wasn’t sure that we as parents would be equal to the task,” Charlotte says. “(We were afraid of) what her future would look like.”

But despite Becca’s brain processing uniquely, despite the right side of her body moving differently, Charlotte and her husband were committed to help their daughter become the best she could be.

“And thankfully (Becca) was a really determined redhead,” Charlotte smiles. “You don’t mess with a redhead!”

Charlotte encouraged Becca to face the kids who bullied her for wearing a patch on her eye and brace on her leg with bravery, and to attempt everything she wanted to do, in and out of the classroom, with determination.

“(My mom taught me) you might not be able to do things quite like the others kids,” Becca recalls. “But you can find your own way of doing things.”

And Becca did. She graduated from high school after starring in student plays, earned a university degree before landing a good job, and recently married the love of her life.

“I wasn’t worried about her life anymore,” Charlotte says. “Because I knew she could handle anything.”

Which brings us to when Charlotte started painting during the pandemic, despite never having done anything artistic in her life before.

“I picked up a paint brush out of sheer boredom,” Charlotte laughs, adding that she never expected anyone outside her family to ever see them.

“Eventually Rebecca said to me, ‘Mom! You have something here,’” Charlotte recalls. “And I said, ‘No I don’t!’”

But Becca persevered on her behalf, found a venue for Charlotte to display her work, and her mom sold her first few paintings.

“I think I taught my mom to just have faith in yourself,” Becca says. “She taught me that and I gave it back to her.”

And now Charlotte is a prolific painter, spending her retirement relishing being a professional artist.

“Having someone in your corner saying you can do this, you got this, is just tremendous,” Charlotte says.

Like Charlotte was once her daughter’s biggest advocate, Becca is now her mom’s biggest champion.

“She tells me, ‘I am so proud of you,’” Charlotte smiles. “And that makes my heart sing.”

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