I am so honored and super excited to share with you the Matthew's family. I have been trying to get them in front of my camera for years, so when they finally agreed I was OVER the moon with excitement :)
I have worked with Wilson for years at Vanderbilt LifeFlight, so it's no surprise that we often run into each other at different work events. That is where I met his amazing family. Kathleen, Madison, Makenzie and Justin. They are the usual working family struggling with school, running kids to this game and that game and then of course work.
In 2008 they received the news along with all of us that Makenzie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I remember that day, September 18, 2008 when Makenzie had her surgery. I remember sitting in the waiting room and really not knowing what to say. I just remember praying because at the time it was the only thing I knew to do.
For the next few years Makenzie would be subjected to scans, treatments and additional surgeries. Kathleen ended up creating a page for Makenzie on the Carepages website so we could stay connected and help send prayers and encouraging words. The thing that stood out the most to me was how Makenzie really wanted to be able to smile again. At that moment I knew I wanted to capture her amazing smile for the entire world to see!
LifeFlight immediately decided to hold an event to help raise money for Makenzie and Wilson. I honestly can't believe how many items were donated for that event and the amount of money that was raised. It was humbling.
We also participated in a charity softball event.
This family means the absolute world to me. They have stayed positive when I am sure they wanted to quit, have done everything they possibly could for Makenzie and kept this unbelievable faith about them that has been so inspiring.
They make me a better mom just watching them.
As you can see it has been years since Makenzie was first diagnosed. She has worked really hard to get where she is today and I am so honored to share her and her family with you.
I remember when Kathleen got out of the car before the session. The last family pictures they had were right after they received the news. She remembers taking the pictures thinking they would be the last ones they would ever have as a family.
It was heartbreaking as a photographer and friend to hear that.
So this time it was a session filled with smiles, laughter, accomplishments and love. And most of all Mackenzie's beautiful smile.
I cried the entire way home that night after the session.
I cried because not only was I grateful that God had given me this gift to touch lives but that these lives then touch mine.
As the holiday's are upon on and as we start a new year, count your many blessings. Give to those that need it, be grateful for everything you have and start the new year off with a joyful and giving heart.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~ Start each day with a grateful heart and always give thanks.