I put out a call in late November for nominations to give a deserving family $500 of custom photography. It is by no means on the same scale as "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" but I wanted to give back to the community and use my gifts and talents to do so.
I received an email while at work and was blubbering by the third paragraph. I photographed Megan's family in the spring and was delighted with her thoughtful, loving description of this family:
"When I first read the nomination idea I immediately considered one of the families that until recently was much like every other “normal” family. The moments that I have been in the presence of the "T" family as they embrace their situation and face it head on, have left me feeling amazed. Amazed by their emotional strength, their connection to one another and their perseverance to battle onward.
Brian and Heather decided to plant their family roots in the small town that they too grew up in. Home to 3 girls, 2 very tired parents and more nurses and hospital equipment then most people see in a lifetime!
"B" was born 2 months early. There were some signs late in Heather’s pregnancy that raised some concern. True to her intuition, there was something wrong. You see, B could not breathe, on her own. After many weeks of testing with no results, she was taken into surgery where a tracheotomy was performed, muscle biopsy taken and a feeding tube was inserted. Weeks later, B was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopothy Disorder. Four months and three days later after she was moved to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, B returned home. She survives with her ventilator in tow, 24 hours a day, a vitamin cocktail may times throughout the day and the nurses who provide nearly constant care.
Heather has taken a leave of absence from her teaching position to be with B and her sisters. B’s care alone would cause most people to become overwhelmed and become down beat. However, Brian and Heather have taken this wrench thrown into their life and try to see the positive in any situation. As focused on the positive and all of Brooke’s improvements, it is hard to look beyond the obvious reminders that their little angel is living a different life. Their home is quite crowded. B must sleep in a chair that folds out to a twin bed in their living room to give space to her, the ventilator, and the nurse providing care. However, B is able to move throughout the home, with her four feet of ventilator tubing and the ventilator carried in a backpack! Brian and Heather are willing to follow B wherever she goes, because their goal is to create a life for her that is like all other girls. Their hope is that she will be vent free, running and playing like all other children! They say, “With her attitude and personality, we have no doubt she will be someone very special!”
For this reason I nominate Brian and Heather and their children to receive complimentary custom photography. Memories are all any of us have as time quickly passes by. My Christmas wish would be to give them the chance to beautifully capture the essence of their spirit and keep it alive on their walls. A professional photo opportunity is one that I am certain they would love. IF they had the money to pay for this, I am certain they would use it to put towards an expense for not only B, but their other girls. If selected, this chance will allow them to hold on to their beautiful family of five, in an artistic fashion, for all the years to come.
Thank you Megan for your beautiful nomination- I am looking forward to photographing both families in the next few months!