LENEXA, Kan. – Gil Rumsey is a local artist that’s built a business in the Kansas City area despite a number of obstacles. In 2006 his art gallery in downtown Overland Park burned down, along with much of his life’s work. This past summer he nearly lost something more precious, his life.
Surrounded by his in-home art gallery, you can see Gil Rumsey doesn’t take much time away from his artwork. Nearly every day, Rumsey says he spends several hours creating in his studio- it’s what he loves to do. In August, however, a dangerous disease came between him and his passion.
“I started feeling some tingling in my hands- didn’t say a word to Linda, and I thought, maybe I lifted one of the pictures wrong or something,” Gil said.
Rumsey continued feeling a tingling sensation. It moved to his legs and feet, and his family doctor demanded he get checked out. Within days he was in the I.C.U. on a ventilator and paralyzed. Doctors say it was Guillain Barre Syndrome. Rumsey spent 91 days in the hospital.
He had to work to breathe on his own, to walk on his own, and finally to draw and paint.
“You know I don’t watch soap operas, so I started drawing during the day,” Rumsey said. “My art did what it’s always done for me and that is get my mind off of other things, let me concentrate on this, been an outlet if you will- an emotional outlet.”
Gil’s wife, Linda, says seeing her husband start to draw again gave her hope.
“I was very grateful because there were certainly times we didn’t know whether Gil was going to survive or not.”
Since Rumsey’s health-scare, he says he appreciates his already charmed life even more.
“It made me want to do more, realizing even more that life is precious and you never know how long it’s going to be,” Rumsey said.
Rumsey’s got the feeling back in his hands, but still has some numbness in his legs and feet.
Rumsey will have his second art show since his hospitalization this weekend.
The show is at the Overland Park Convention Center on Friday, May 16th from 5-9 and on Saturday, May 17th from 10-3. It will be in Garden Room 7.