April and Mellissa



Foundational quote for image generation:

“The roads and the avenues continue to open and spread and it gives us an ability to share and hopefully help someone else that’s newly diagnosed because it is a very rock bottom, ground zero feeling.”

The image is a vibrant and abstract depiction of roadways and paths, that weave, curve, and intertwine with each other, creating a dynamic pattern of overpasses and intersections. The myriad of colors and forms creates a visual tapestry that gives the impression of a bustling, dynamic world. The overall composition is intricate, with the roads serving as the unifying element amidst a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.

This vivid tableau stands as a poignant metaphor for the journey of two sisters navigating the twists and turns of life, particularly the challenges posed by inherited retinal disease. From the vibrant yellows, blues, and reds to the subtle pastels, each hue encapsulates the spectrum of emotions and experiences the sisters share – joy, sadness, strength, and perseverance. 

The fluidity of the lanes, looping and bending but never breaking, mirrors the sisters’ resilience. Together they chart new paths, leaning on each other’s strengths. The intricate interplay of roads and vibrant terrains underscores the essence of life’s unpredictability. Just as one road comes to an end, another continues on the path of hope.

In essence, this artwork resonates with the message of hope, adaptability, and progress — new roads and opportunities continually unfolding, especially when navigated with the unbreakable bond of sisterhood.


Foundational quote for image generation:

“I work side by side with my sister and I love her dearly. And I have  great support. My family, my husband, my children. We’re now, as a family, cohesively dealing with the same genetic disease. So you get through it, you know, life is on the other side. It’s different, but you can live a fulfilled life.”

The image features a large, stylized tree as its central focus. The tree’s canopy is filled with a myriad of patterns, shapes, and motifs, including swirls, leaves, flowers, birds, and various abstract designs. These patterns are rendered in a rich palette of colors, including reds, oranges, blues, greens, and yellows.

The tree’s expansive trunk and roots are equally detailed, with swirling patterns and colors that mirror the vibrancy of the canopy. Below the tree, a whimsical landscape unfolds. In the background, a soft gradient of blues and yellows suggests a sky transitioning from day to night, or perhaps a sunrise or sunset.

This captivating image portrays a magnificent, expansive tree, its boughs and branches filled with a myriad of intricate patterns, motifs, and colors. It stands tall and majestic, with its branches extending up into the sky and its roots deeply entrenched in the earth, signifying generations of growth, the continuity of life, and the passing down of traditions and values.


Foundational quote for image generation:

“… that’s where our parents were from, Guanaja. And that’s where we went every summer. I appreciate our parents for taking us there and meeting our family and really grounding us. It’s a little house and their backyard is water. So, we would sit back there, kick our feet in.”

The image depicts two girls (April & Melissa) sitting on the edge of a wooden dock, with a blue body of water beneath them. Both of them are dangling their feet into the water, and their reflections can be clearly seen on the water’s surface.

The girl on the left is wearing a floral dress in hues of pink, yellow, and blue. She seems engrossed in looking at something in her hands. The girl on the right is wearing a dress with a pink and blue pattern and is leaning slightly forward, looking at her feet touching the water.

Behind them, the dock continues and leads to a small building on stilts over the water, with stairs and railings visible. The sky is bright blue, suggesting a sunny day, and there are white clouds in the background.

The artwork has a realistic style, with detailed shading and reflections, especially in the water. The colors are vibrant, and the mood appears to be calm and serene, highlighting the bond between the sisters and a moment from their childhood in Guanaja

April and Melissa sit and hold hands for their interview.



Sisters / Business Owners / Blindness Advocates / Tampa, FL USA

April and her sister Melissa are both diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, along with others in their family. This has led them to begin a mission to educate the community about blindness and also help search for a cure. 

April was Mrs. America 2011 and Mrs. World 2012 which has provided some unique platforms and ways to help raise awareness about blindness. 

In 2006, Melissa and April began to seek to speak to others affected with blinding diseases and found organizations like the Blind CAN Film Festival and the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and other organizations. The sister duo created and formed the Tampa Bay Chapter for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and April serves as the president and Melissa serves as the vice president, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help with research for a cure for blindness. 

April’s RP is mild and doesn’t affect her day-to-day vision, while her children’s and Melissa’s RP are progressing more quickly.  Upon winning the Mrs. America and Mrs. World competitions: “I had the right purpose, and I just stayed true to myself,” says April. “All I did was talk about my kids, blindness, and supporting the community, which seemed to resonate with the judges. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I had during my reign to spread awareness, and I couldn’t have done it without my family by my side.”

The sisters are always adventuring together, recently flew in a helicopter with no doors over New York City and hiked in Sedona, Arizona, and April helps to narrate to Melissa what she may not be able to see herself. Melissa has participated in a stem cell clinical trial at the University of California, Irvine, in 2018.

April’s son Brandon is also currently participating in the AGTC gene therapy clinical trial for XLRP. Brandon’s first eye surgery was in February 2020, and he is now being monitored. Melissa and April found out about both trials through the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Both sisters say: “RP has made me acknowledge all the great things in life and not overlook the simple things we take for granted,” says April. “I feel like my life has a purpose, thanks to RP. And even though it’s a tough road, I’ve learned more gratitude, strength, and humility.”