This past weekend we chose to support a cause that was new to us– The Students of AMF network. This is a network in colleges around the country that provides support for students that are grieving the illness or death of a loved one. We were asked to take part in their Spring Soiree which raises money for this national network, providing photo coverage of the event. The event was beautiful! It was held in the super fabulous Stockroom at 230, which I am super in love with. And, hello, Cafe Luna catered the event- DELICIOUS! The always classy “Back ‘N Time” kept everyone movin’!
I have really looked forward to sharing this story with you… it has just taken me time to find the right words to do this story justice. Please know that I have run every image and word of this post by this family before I posted it. Shauna and Anthony have been going through quite the trying time in their journey together in the past seven months. Two months after they were married Anthony joined the Army and eight months later he received deployment orders to Afghanistan. Just days before his deployment, Shauna gave birth to their first child together, Scarlett. Then on September 22, 2010, not long into his deployment, Anthony stepped on an IED. He stepped on an IED and is alive. Anthony suffered extremely severe injuries leading to cardiac arrest during his first surgery downrange. He did not “wake up” for the first 10 days, he lost his entire right leg and his left leg above his knee, while sustaining major trauma to his arms and other parts of this body. No matter the severity of his injuries, most importantly he is alive.
Since they have friends and family all over the place, Shauna used Facebook as her main tool to keep people posted on how Anthony was recovering. It started with status updates, and then as Anthony became more responsive, his surgeries became less frequent and physical therapy progressed, Shauna began to post pictures of life in the hospital for the two of them, and eventually Scarlett. Shauna is the first to admit when it’s been a rough day, but then will rejoice in the good days and give thanks for how far Anthony has come. She shares with everyone images of all the entertainers and important political figures that come through to visit the “wounded warriors”. We have all seen how popular Miss Scarlett is around the hospital- she is quite the cheerleader for both patients and staff alike.
David and I have been so moved by their strength and willingness to share their story with the world. I contacted Shauna, knowing I had a shoot in DC, to offer to do some documenting for her. She has been so great at sharing pictures of their current place in life… I wanted to give her images that showed all three of them together. I did not think this would be a shoot that I would blog, it being so personal, but Shauna and Anthony are adamant about sharing their story. Shauna said that so often you either hear about the soldiers coming home alive or dead… no one talks about those that come home injured to the point where their life will not be the same. It was an honor to have the chance to thank Anthony for his hard work and for taking such a risk for his country.
There was a point when the doctors told Shauna not to expect Anthony to wake up- his body had just been through too much. And yet I got to sit and talk with Anthony, watching him go above and beyond in his physical therapy sessions and getting to hug his baby girl and kiss his wife. What a gift.
David and I feel very strongly that our job is not only to cover the happy, easy parts of our clients’ lives but to also be there in the more trying times. Shauna your dedication, openness, emotional strength, abundant love has been more than inspiring to us. You have been and are amazing. Anthony we are so proud of your strength, all your hard work, your persistence and your willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of you in order to heal- for yourself and your family.