Heroes Among Us–the search for a cure {Fort Myers Family Photographer}

It’s no secret how much I absolutely adore this family. I adore them for many many reasons, all of which you’ll hear about during this blog post. I’ve photographed them three times now. You can see their past sessions HERE and HERE.  I met them a few years ago when I was holding a contest and giving away a session. The Lawreys won the contest, and I fell in love with them instantly.

(keep scrolling down for more images of this beautiful family and see how YOU can help!)




You can read some of the background in the other posts, but here is the short version. Their son, Gavin, suffers from an incurable disease called Mitochondrial Disease (<—click to learn and read about mito) . At the age of 18 months, Gavin started to suffer from seizures that made him “shaky” and caused loss of muscle control. A few years later it was determined that he has Mitochondrial Disease.  The amount of heartbreak, suffering and sacrifice this family has gone through is more than any one family should have to go through in a lifetime. Gavin has experienced more pain and suffering than you can imagine. Through it all, he keeps a smile on his face. He is one of the happiest little guys I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.

OH and hello?!??! He also happens to be a fabulous little photographer. I am blown away by his creative eye. See for yourself HERE. His art is on sale to raise funds…I have a canvas hung proudly in my office. It is gorgeous!

(keep scrolling down for more images of this beautiful family and see how YOU can help!)








This post is not all about Gavin. I’d like to introduce Makenzie Lawrey to you. She is Gavin’s AMAZING big sister. Makenzie has been journaling about this journey for a while now. She told her Mom, Brandi, that she wanted to help find a cure. Her goal? To raise one million dollars for research. Brandi tried to talk her down to a more reasonable goal, but Makenzie insisted…and you know what? I think she’ll do it. Keep scrolling down to see how she’s already raised over $25,000.00!

(keep scrolling down for more images of this beautiful family and see how YOU can help!)







At the young age of 9 years old, Makenzie has written a book, Mighty Mito Superhero (<—-click to purchase!) . This book was written in non technical terms and written in a way so that children (and adults) can understand what mitochondrial disease is. It features actual stories from Makenzie’s experience and perspective and lots of photos (some by yours truly). It features Gavin as a superhero, striving to “win” the battle against mitochondrial disease.  100% of the proceeds go to the United Mitochondrial Foundation in hopes of a cure.





It boggles my mind to think that this 9 year old child has already accomplished more in her short lifetime than most adults have! She also set up a storefront to sell “Bravelets”, adorable bracelets for mito awareness. Click HERE to purchase your own!

Currently, the Lawrey family is challenging everybody to take the donation challenge. Often times, we feel we can’t contribute enough…”what will my $20.00 do?” A lot. When everybody comes together, it makes a difference. The Lawreys are challenging everybody to donate the same amount as their age. So if you are 33 years old, they are asking you to donate $33.00. To find out more and take the donation challenge, visit their site Hope 4 Mito. There is a button at the top labeled DONATE. 


Last but certainly not least, I collaborated with a good friend of mine Megan DiPiero, who also happens to be a local photographer and fabulous videographer. Together, along with Brandi Lawrey, we came up with the concept for this video. Megan DiPiero certainly was the mastermind in putting it all together and rocked it. Watch it for a glimpse into the Lawrey’s life, and the heroes that they are.

Please consider donating for this cause, and be the hope for a cure for mitochondrial disease.

**My goal is to have this blog post go viral in order to spread the word and raise more money for this cause…for Makenzie…and for Gavin. Purchase a copy of the book, buy a bracelet, donate and if you can’t do any of those things, share. Please share anywhere you can. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc!

Many thanks and gratitude…


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25 Responses to “Heroes Among Us–the search for a cure {Fort Myers Family Photographer}”

  1. Shannon, you are the best! You have such a big heart and a fabulous eye! I just adore this series of images!

  2. Donna Foster says:

    Your blog is wonderful Shannon, and once again you have captured my daughter & her wonderful family beautifully. Thank You for all you do for them.

  3. Deborah Jordan says:

    I love this and I love you. You humble me with your kindness and amazing capacity for caring. I am so proud of you. xoxo

  4. Shannon says:

    Thanks so much Megan! :) THank you again for being a part of it and producing such a unbelievable video!

  5. Shannon says:

    I am happy you like them, Donna. It is my pleasure!

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