As I read the blogs that precede mine during Blogust 2014, I can identify with all of the emotions expressed by parents of little ones who are currently experiencing all of those wonderful and poignant “firsts” in a child’s life.
It seems like only yesterday when I was just like you, as my 2 daughters grew, unconditionally enriching our lives and going on to become adults of whom my husband and I are so very proud. Parenthood is an amazing journey and if it’s any consolation to those who are about to become empty nesters – let me reassure you that there are quite a few upsides as well 🙂
The freedom and challenges of my work and career continually provide firsts. This year in particular I had the privilege of completing an incredible project which for me took the term “first” to a whole new level—highlighting a cause which I’m totally committed to: vaccination.
Across three continents, I completed a series of 15 images titled Protecting our Tomorrows – Portraits of Meningococcal Disease. It was one of the most significant projects I’ve ever undertaken and certainly a first for me in terms of embracing such an emotional subject matter.
Meningococcal disease (or meningitis) is a sudden, aggressive illness that can lead to death within 24 hours of onset. Babies, toddlers and adolescents are the most vulnerable, with infants under 12 months of age at greatest risk. Unfortunately, many of those who do survive are often left with life-long complications such as brain damage, learning disabilities, hearing loss and amputation of limbs.
In my initial planning for the shoots, it was challenging to realize that I would be photographing young people who had endured so much suffering, both physically and emotionally. Yet, what I learned the most from the experience was that there is undiscovered and exquisite beauty in every corner of the world, in every facet of life and most definitely within every human being. To hold a little 5-year old who has suffered the loss of both arms and both legs was overwhelming and has instilled in me an even stronger and more committed purpose in my work as an advocate for children and an advocate for vaccination.
I can best convey the importance of this message via some of the images themselves…and any parent viewing them must surely be moved to action. We must all be vigilant in vaccinating our children (and ensuring that each child’s vaccinations are up to date).
I’m a proud Global Advocate for the Shot@Life campaign. With each comment and/or share of this post or any others during Blogust 2014, Walgreens will donate a life-saving vaccine to a child most in need. It’s that simple. If you have the privilege of access to vaccines for your own child, please help another in need to experience their own future of memorable firsts.