Archive: ‘Charity’



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

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

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!)

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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!)

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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!)

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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.

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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. 

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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…

SJDxo

To the Moon and Back | 2/52

Monday, January 13th, 2014

New year. New project. And a personal one at that. I have been wanting to commit to a personal project involving photography for a few years now and I feel so honored to have been asked by an extremely talented group of photographers from around the country to participate in a blog circle. Every week we will post photos of our OWN children. I am so pumped about this. At the end of the year I plan to make an album of them. MY OWN ALBUM! :) Can you tell I’m excited? I can’t wait to play with all kinds of different light and angles.

These images were taken on different days but I captured the same mood from both of them…and I love it.

First up: my dear, sweet Emma Leigh. Who I also refer to as Emma Lou…or Lou…and mostly just Lulu. She has the most sensitive heart of anybody I know. She feels everything. And deeply. I have to remind myself to not dismiss her feelings. Yes, she is dramatic, but to her, what’s bothering her is a big deal in her young life. She reminds me daily to stop and slow down; notice the beauty in everyday. She is a daydreamer with an imagination that reaches to infinity and back again. 

And then there is my “baby”. August James. Who I also refer to as Buddy, Bubba, Boobear or Augie. Talk about sweet through and through. He makes my heart swoon when he hugs me, asks me to lay down with him, kisses me anywhere and anytime, and tells me he’s going to marry me when he grows up–and buy me flowers. I always said I didn’t want a boy…what would I do with a boy? They are smelly. And weird. Well, I was very wrong…this little guy has stolen my heart forever.

Want to see some serious talent? Continue through our blog circle by visiting Sarah Cambio‘s blog/site…

SJDxo

Stella The Star–A Magic Hour Foundation Session

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Recently, I have had the opportunity to work with a foundation whose sole purpose is to provide custom portraiture, free of charge, for families who are currently dealing with or who have recently dealt with cancer. This subject is very near and dear to my heart as my mom (who also happens to be my best friend) has dealt with cancer twice in the last five years. When she was diagnosed this time, we were blessed enough to have our entire family home over the holidays and spend that time together. I immediately contacted a photographer friend to come over and take some photos of all of us together. I will forever cherish those photos.

Enter Magic Hour Foundation. I came across this organization while networking on Facebook. I don’t think it was an accident, I truly feel I was called to be a part of it. Such a wonderful organization, and I am grateful to be involved.

I’d like to introduce you to Stella and her family. Stella, at the age of 18 months, was diagnosed with Stage 4, high risk, neuroblastoma. Having children of my own, I cannot imagine having to watch my child go through any major illness, let alone advanced cancer. Through it all, Stella’s family remains strong and happy, despite the circumstances. I think it may have something to do with their faith…they inspire me to be more spiritual and faithful.

 

I think this is her signature smile. :) I love when the tongue comes out!


Speaking of inspiration, Stella is by far one of the most delightful, happy, engaging and sweetest souls I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I have yet to see this child NOT smile. She is incessantly happy and glowing. At the mere age of barely 2, she inspires ME to be a better person. To be satisfied with the everyday, to smile even when things are not perfect. I just want to eat her up.

 

Stella runs the show, but not without a little help from her older siblings. I’ve only met them a few times and they each have their own personal strengths. Big brother seems to want to hold things together and is oh so cuddly and loving. I caught him leaning his head on his mom’s several times and stealing kisses from Stella often.

Big sister, only in kindergarten herself, is a sweetheart. What I saw in her was a little mother hen, always helping with Stella by holding her hand or simply rubbing her back (which I caught her doing when nobody was looking).

Together, I think they probably keep mom and dad busy…but what a gorgeous bunch!

Stella’s mom and dad remind me of myself and my husband. They seem to truly enjoy each other and work well as a team.

Through Stella’s journey (i’ve been following her on Facebook since her diagnosis, they have a page set up to raise awareness, raise funds and most of all, pray for Stella), I’ve felt the fear and anxiety in her mother’s words, but i’ve also been enlightened by her faith and strength. There is no doubt these two share a very strong and special bond.

 

 

I’d like to thank the Magic Hour Foundation for providing me with this wonderful opportunity. This experience has me looking at life a little differently, enjoying the little things even more and hugging my children a little tighter. An even bigger thanks goes out to Stella, who has taught me to smile, even when life throws a curveball. This is just a small hiccup in what this universe has in store for you, Stella.

Check out Stella’s facebook page, Prayers for Stella. Updates, photos, fundraising and prayers!

SJDxo

 

 

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