Alex Biagi has been drawing since the age of 6, but when he began losing the ability to move his arms, his passion was suddenly threatened.
The 38-year-old, who lives in Colorado, was eventually diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), an extremely rare autoimmune disease, after years of doctors not being able to figure out what was wrong.
“I was 24. My left hand just stopped working,” Biagi told InsideEdition.com. “It got worse and worse.”
Doctors initially diagnosed him with carpal tunnel and performed two surgeries but his condition barely improved. It took four years for him to get a proper diagnosis.
“It was really scary and it was hard. I had to quit my job,” Biagi said. “I wasn’t painting at this point anymore.”
Three-and-a-half years ago, however, something changed.
Biagi’s mom received a calendar in the mail filled with artwork created by people who painted with their mouths.
He said he was immediately inspired to look up other people who painted this way.
“I thought I would give it a try and I haven’t stopped since,” he said.
When he first started, it would take him a month and a half to complete one painting, but now he’s down to a month. One of his recent paintings, of NBA all-star LeBron James, went viral on Reddit after his friend posted it.
He hopes to be able to sell his artwork soon, but overall he is just happy to be back doing what he loves.
“It is very therapeutic for me,” Biagi said. “I have always been creative so I have that outlet now again.”