Recently, I found out that Neil, the father to one of my favorite families, has end stage renal disease which is the last stage of chronic kidney disease when the kidneys permanently fail to work. I photographed the wonderful Emmott family for the first time about 7 or 8 years ago, when Cameron was only about 3 years old and Mackenzie was not even born yet. I instantly adored them, and always felt close to Lisa, who is such a great mom, down to earth and so easy to talk to. Through the years, I truly enjoyed photographing these two adorable and sweet red headed girls with their parents, and the images were always full of love and closeness. But, now years later, Neil is sick, his kidneys are failing and the projected wait for a deceased donor kidney is seven years. Neil does not have seven years to wait, and I want these girls to enjoy their dad for a very long time.
I went to the Emmott house this weekend to document the family together, in their own home, their own space and with all their love. While I definitely want the family to have these images of them together, I also had an ulterior motive. I am hoping that someone will see these images, see how close this family is, hear their story, and will then look into the possibility of living organ donation. Living organ donation is when a person donates a kidney or a part of their liver, lung or pancreas to the recipient in need. Many times, a family member donates the organ, but in Neil’s case, his family members have been tested but not approved to donate a kidney. What I have learned and what I find amazing is that there are altruistic organ donors out there – people who chose to donate organs to someone they do not know in order to save a life. In this world where we are always hearing about how horrible people are in the news and reading about terrible things in the world, there are still people who do beautiful things each day, including becoming someone’s real life hero by donating an organ and saving a life. So often, we feel like we don’t make a difference in the world, but living organ donation is a way to make the most incredible, beautiful, life-saving difference in a family’s life. Neil needs someone to make this difference for him and for his family. If you are interested in learning more about living kidney donation, please visit this link – http://www.hopkinsmedicine. org/transplant/living_donors/index.html. Additionally, Neil’s wife, Lisa, has been through the donor process, and she is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Lisa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-205-0067. To learn more, you can also visit the family’s Caringbridge site at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/findakidneyforneil.
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I hope that this story will touch someone who may be interested in learning more about becoming a donor for Neil or for another person in need of an organ transplant. Thank you so very much. xoxo