Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Painter Still Puts One Foot in Front of the Other

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Painter Still Puts One Foot in Front of the Other

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | Come Thursday night, the father-and-son painting team of Jim and Addison Palmer will be back in the gallery business.

They're reopening their gallery on the island after being closed for years. Maybe they can stay close enough this time to keep some regular hours. They both still have works on display on Hilton Head and, Jim, 73, explained it was hard jumping back and forth across the Savannah River to keep the St. Simons gallery open.

That and Addison's former work teaching art aboard cruise ships that kept him on the high seas or in foreign ports from New Zealand to Cape Town and tiny South Pacific Islands.

Addison, 44, wishes travel had accounted for all of his absences, but of the past January he says simply, "I was dead."

He had double pneumonia, a suppressed immune system and a number of other problems that kept him hospitalized for two months, half of it in intensive care.

He suffers from an adrenal gland deficiency that was named after another Addison. As a result of that disease, his joints are stiff and often swollen. Walking is a chore, but at one time he ran just for the joy of it and amassed a lot of trophies along the way.

He was breezing through the Marine Corps Marathon in 1995 at a pace that would have easily qualified him for the 1996 Olympic trials. But he was bumped, fell and limped to the finish.

Addison's disease kicked in with a vengeance afterward, leaving him unable to run at the front of the pack anymore. That was not, however, his last marathon.

He got involved with the Boston Athletic Association and a partner medical organization in 2002. He raffled off a painting and did other things to raise money for them, a lot of money.

They were so grateful, they sent him a special invitation and a race number for that year's Boston Marathon. It was likely intended as a souvenir.

"They didn't think I'd run it. They didn't know me very well,'' Addison said.

He went to Boston, got to the starting line in Hopkinton where, he said, "I just started putting one foot in front of the other."

He kept doing that for 26. …

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