Just a few weeks after running the Twin Cities Marathon as a member of LLS’s Team in Training last year, Ella McNeil-Doty was a victim of a hit and run driver, just two houses down from her apartment. The ambulance took her to the emergency room quickly but it was several hours before her family in Ellison Bay were notified. Ella had suffered a few broken bones, her teeth were smashed, but most troubling was that she had a moderate traumatic brain injury.
Because she was in the best shape she had been in (she improved her personal best time) due to her training all year, her physical injuries healed on schedule. But brains heal slowly and on a crooked path and hers was no exception. She was allowed to rest, walk her dogs once a day and do no reading. And running, her passion, was off the table.
But her persistence, which some would call stubborn-ness, and dedication for both running and raising money for LLS has carried her back to training, with the goal to be healthy and strong enough to run once again in this fall’s marathon. Her parents, Diane McNeil and John Dietrich, potters and owners of Ellison Bay Pottery have held small events in the past to help Ella raise money. This year they decided to create a whole exhibit centered around the theme of home called ‘The Magic of Home’ to explore what ‘home’ means to them after almost a year of helping Ella as she has worked on her recovery.
Members of Team in Training put the names of people they want to honor or support on their jersey. Prominent names on Ella’s jersey included her Aunt Marcia, and an Ellison Bay neighbor. This year she will be adding a local boy to her list, Bo Johnson.
“For years I have been exploring the concept and feeling of ‘home’ in both my pottery and my writing,” said Diane. “It seemed perfect to me to dig deep beneath the surface of what ‘home’ has meant to me and how that has changed after the events of the recent past.” Diane’s pottery also incorporates birds and fish into her designs, symbols of the freedom home can give us
John’s functional stoneware pottery decorations is abstract so each viewer can find their own personal meaning in each piece. “I like working with layering colors and textures, and with negative and positive space. This way each person can bring their personal viewpoint to the conversation. Each potter puts their soul into each piece; then each person finds the connection that is personal. I really like that,” he said. He’s begun to embellish his pots with little creatures, like little gifts.
Also included in the exhibit will be paintings by Thomas M. Dietrich and Margaret R. Dietrich, John’s parents.
The exhibit opens August 17 with a Fund Raising Party with summer comfort food from 5-8 pm and they will donate 10% of all sales to LLS through Ella’s account. The show closes on August 31. If you’d like to donate you can go to Ella’s Team in Training page: URL.