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"Make each day your masterpiece."
- John Wooden

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Tony Luna Creative-Update- 4-2-11

Dear Friends of Tony Luna Creative:

I just received word that two of our dear friends, both graduates of Art Center, Vee Vitanza (Film Major) and Izabela Berengut (Photo Major and Photo Representative) urgently need our help. Vee, Izabela's husband, has been diagnosed with a rare brain tumor "on the balance nerve which connects the ear to the brain." Fortunately the tumor was found quickly, but unfortunately he needs to have the unique surgery--which must be paid up front--that is not covered by their Health Net Insurance. The surgery is scheduled for April 20 and a fund raiser has been coordinated to help them with the cost of the surgery. To assure they have enough money a deadline of April 10 has been set.

For more detailed information please log on to

I know these two talented and lovely people personally so I encourage you to donate whatever you can. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them during this challenging time.

The following is a letter sent to me from a close friend of theirs, Aurelia Amore:

"Hello my fellow Art Center Teachers and Alumni,

I hope this email finds you well. I hate to be the barer of sad news. Hopefully, collectively we can help make a big difference.

Here's what's going on....A few weeks ago, Vee Vitanza, (Film Major), Izabela Berengut's (Photo Major) husband was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma - a rare brain tumor on the balance nerve which connects the ear to the brain. It is located deep inside the skull and adjacent to vital brain centers in the brain stem. Approximately only 1 in 100,000 people are diagnosed each year worldwide. Not the kind of lottery anyone wants to win.

The good new is that they found it quickly. Vee suddenly went numb on one side of his face on his birthday in February. To eliminate the possibility of a stroke, he had a doctor’s appointment scheduled the following morning, and that's how they found the tumor. It a strange kind of irony of finding this kind of news out on your "birth" day. There is no real way to make sense of it, but I think that it's an opportunity for re-birth and a reminder to us all that there are no guarantees in this life and that we need to make it all count.

The treatment requires a very precise surgical procedure, which is performed by only few teams of doctors in the country. Vee's surgery will require two surgeons. Health Net Insurance does not cover doctor and procedure fees at the clinic that specializes in removal of these tumors. Yet another reminder of how sickening our health care system is and the change that need to happen.

We have set up a fund to give Vee and Izabela some financial relief during this difficult time. Not only are they challenged with hefty medical expenses; but many of the hospital bills will have to be paid up front, before the surgery on April 20th. It's going to be a tough road ahead for them both. I watched them fall in love at Art Center almost 9 years ago. They were married only 6months ago and are in for quite a challenge. I'm so glad that they have each other. Vee and Izabela together are like sunshine and filled with so much love for each other and their friends. I know that they are going to get through this, especially because they have us as friends and colleagues.

There is no easy way, no decorations, no icing to make asking for help any more charming, than simply, just asking for the help that is needed. Whatever you might be able to donate to help out, would be so greatly appreciative.

All donations will go to help cover these expenses. Donation can be anonymous, and any amount will help. We are in this together. The donations will ensure that finances do not become a source of worry for them during this time.

If you would like to contribute to up-front fees for Vee's surgery, please either click on link below, by April 10th:

All donations are private and any and every dollar helps.

There will be a subsequent art and services auction soon to help with remaining hospital bills and possible therapy expenses. If you would like to donate a portfolio review, consultation and or artwork for people to bid on, that would be amazing.

Thank you very dearly for taking the time to read this and for contributing what you can. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Much love,



*****Please forward this email to the kind, receptive and generous hearts you know. I imagine there are many that we know especially within the art community.

(feel free to post this on Facebook as well)


Tony Luna Creative
A Creative Consultancy
819 North Bel Aire Drive
Burbank, CA 91501
Home office: 818-842-5490
Studio: 626-584-4007


Adjunct Professor: Art Center College of Design
Recent Contributing Author:, an online magazine for 75,000+ members of the photographic community
Author: "How to Grow as a Photographer: Reinventing Your Career" Allworth Press

Providing support, inspiration and networking for mid-career creative professionals


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