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Way to Go! Miller Place artist Lauren Cummins

Lauren Cummins uses her sense of touch to touch other people as much as possible.

Lauren, 11, a sixth-grader at North Country Road Elementary School in Miller Place, has been blind since the age of 8 due to neurofibromatosis type-1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve coverings.

Despite the obstacle, Lauren has found comfort in creating art. She recently had a mixed-media piece appear in a three-week student exhibit titled "Colors of Long Island: Student Expressions" at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

"Her art is almost always three-dimensional because she can touch it - it's tactile," said Lauren's father, Dennis.

In November, Lauren began a string of surgeries to address a growing brain tumor that kept her from visiting the exhibit last month. She is undergoing rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine in Manhattan.

To remain upbeat, Lauren spends her time at the institute creating bracelets made of acrylic beads that she gives away to visitors, nurses and other hospitalized children.

Her family is planning a benefit March 21 at Mulcahy's in Wantagh.

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