A Naples boy set a new record last Saturday when his painting was sold for $200,000 at the Wine & Food Fest – the highest ever in the history of the festival. The owner of the painter is Jay Aponte, a 9-year old boy who has leukemia.
Jay Aponte was diagnosed 2 years ago. Together with other kids who have acute illnesses like cancer, the event raised money through biddings on the child artists’ paintings. All the money are donated back to the Golisano Children’s Hospital were the kids get various medical services and help.
Jay was guided by Ellen Sheppard, an award-winning artist on his masterpiece. Using watercolors and colored pencils, Jay painted Lightning McQueen, a famous car-character from the movie “Cars” by Pixar.
The 9-year old said that he loves racecar games like Cars and Hot Wheels. During the bidding for his painting, Jay was scene playing his Nintendo DS oblivious to the many paddles being raised and the excitement that his painting has been making in the event.
Jay’s mother, Luz Aponte, was very touched and overwhelmed with the event. She expects the event to raise more funds for the hospital but she did not expect her son to break the record.
NBC2 anchor Kellie Burns also surprised Jay before the bidding opened. Jay and her mom will watch the Daytona 500 race the next day and will tour the racetrack together with the riders in front of millions of watchers and fans.
According to Jay’s mother, Jay will undergo treatments for another 14 months and by April 2015, hopefully, Jay will be declared cancer-free.