Blowing Up Rafael Header

Who is Gina Hessburg and, better yet, who is Rafael?

Gina Hessburg is an art buyer and producer (http://www.ginahessburg.com/).  After suffering from multiple Optic Neuritis (ON) attacks with the source undiagnosed. that took her to multiple clinics, including the Mayo Clinic.  She was not responsive to steroids, so doctors differ on the diagnosed of Chronic Relapsing Inflamitory Optic Neuropathy , or CRION.  She tested negative for the MOG Antibody as well as every other known cause of ON attacks.  With no sure way to stop the continued degrading of her vision, Gina is determined to stop it from ever happening again and save her vision.  In the process, she will help many more.

After several months isolated by COVID-19 social distancing, Rafael, a novelty toy from the past that she found in a drawer, entered into her life. With her third ON attack, Gina needed a project to focus on and was looking for ways to help push for more research in ON and help a community in need. A few puffs of air and a little imagination led to a pretty remarkable series of opportunities that will surely have a positive impact on the ON community!

Gina, along with the support of her advertising community, is self-publishing a book called Blowing UP about her life with Rafael, with $5 of each book sale going towards ON research and support.  She has dedicated a portion of the funds raised to The MOG Project.  Read all about Rafael and Gina’s creative project below.  Follow the links, sign up for the newsletter, and buy a book or two to help the cause.  Feel free to share with a few friends.  Have a laugh and help our community at the same time!

Gina and Rafael
Gina and Rafael at a Photo Shoot
Rafael hovering over a pool

Visit the website to learn more about Blowing Up and register for the email list for updates on pre-sales and the book release here:


To learn about the book updates, go here:


To see a PBS Segment on the project:


Gina’s Instagram:


Gina’s Facebook:


Hashtags to follow: #blowinguprafael #ginaandtheblowupdoll #ginaandrafael