A Sonoran Treasure – Nilda Alina Trevor Pino

Alina Trevor is a famous artist from Caborca, Sonora. Her paintings hang in galleries around the world, she has been a guest on international television programs, and has received a myriad of honors and recognition. And beyond her talents and accomplishments, she is an inspiration to millions – Alina is paralyzed from the neck down.

A month before her 17th birthday, Alina was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street as she walked to school. Concerned bystanders rushed to her aid, and made the mistake of moving her young body.

She was transported to a hospital in the state capital of Hermosillo, but doctors there weren’t prepared for such a traumatic neurological injury and she was kept on her back for several days. In that position, her lungs filled with fluid and she developed pneumonia.

She was airlifted to St. Mary’s hospital in Tucson, where she died.

Her mother had been in the hospital room with Alina, and doctors told her to leave the room, because her daughter was dead. Alina described the experience to me from her perspective at the time as being in the front yard of their family home in Caborca.

Holding on to a fence, a wind was blowing that had knocked her off her feet and threatened to blow her away. She kept a fierce grip on the fence as the howling wind lifted her light body, wanting to take her.

As her fingers began to slip from the fence, she heard a booming male voice calling her name… Alina! Alina! She didn’t realize it at the time, but the voice was her brother, who was in the hospital room as doctors scrambled to save her life. At that time she just had one thought, and imagined that she was screaming at the top of her lungs – “I want to live! I want to live!”

And she did.

Alina described the experience to me when we first met in 2006, during a visit when I had the pleasure of collaborating with her on the design of a brochure. Shortly after her accident she had started painting, an activity she had enjoyed since childhood. She considers her art to be a daily motivation for her.

Alina lives in the family home in Caborca, where her mother, Adelina Pino de Trevor, cares for her. Her mother has been at Alina’s side since the day of the accident, selflessly caring for her precious daughter. The artist credits her mother as being a main source of inspiration for her, in addition to her family, and a love of God and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

During my visits with Alina, we discussed a variety of topics. She talked about her interest in improving accessibility for the disabled to public areas. Virtually unheard of in Mexico just a few years ago, now streets and buildings constructed in towns like Caborca have disabled access ramps and parking spaces.

Another passion is communicating to youth about the importance of staying in school, and to not use drugs. She is filled with caring for others, and is also optimistic about medical advancements in treating spinal cord injury being funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

One time I’d had the good fortune to visit Alina when she was painting. With a brush attached to a mouthpiece that is molded to her teeth, she deftly moved her head to put color to canvas. I was transfixed as a colorful desert scene appeared. She was creating the image from her mind, as she does with most works of art that she creates. Her favorite themes are the Sonoran desert of Northern Mexico where she was born and raised, and flowers.

Alina’s beauty, kindness and smiling, positive outlook are truly an inspiration. And for all of the people she has touched with her beautiful art, inspirational life story, and her efforts to help improve the lives of others, Nilda Alina Trevor makes this world a better place.