Chen Lie suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 60. Her right side was temporarily paralyzed, meaning that Lie was forced to use her left hand instead of her formerly dominant one. Although the process of recovery was frustrating for Lie—learning how to do everything from brushing her teeth to using a fork—the predicament gave her a new lease on life.
One day, out of pure boredom, Lie picked up one of her grandchild's paintbrushes and began to paint a canvas. She realized that she had a hidden talent for depicting nature scenery, despite having never practiced painting before.
Lie completed in-patient therapy in Texas after her stroke. She then moved to New York to enroll in an experimental robotic-assisted therapy program on Long Island the following year. The robotic arm allowed Chen to regain movement much faster than she would have in physical therapy.
"Every time we recovered something [during rehab] we would tell them the good news," she said. "They thought it was a wonder I could do something like painting."
Lie has completed an incredible 500 paintings to date. During the month of May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month, Lie is painting something new every day.
"I've gained a lot of knowledge, so besides the hand painting, the brain keeps thinking; that's good for stroke [victims] to not let the brain rest," she wrote on her Facebook page Stroke of Hope. "Keep thinking; keep searching for the knowledge."