Happiest Halloween Ever

Recently an amazing soul, Kimberly Wood (Black) (above) was back in the hospital with complications due to Cystic Fibrosis. Her facebook statuses got gloomier than usual, and it really tore my heart out to not be able to do anything for her. Rewind just over a year ago...

Maisie has had complications (since aspirating meconium at birth) with breathing when she gets sick. A common cold turns into countless trips to the Emergency room and machines, and crying and her dad and I looking at each other with those silent "hold it together" looks. The looks that say what we don't dare to say, "I hope it's nothing serious."

When Maisie was just hours old, when a lot of parents would usually be gazing lovingly into the face of their peacefully resting newborn, Maisie was getting an IV and being put into an incubator. Our amazing midwife Sheila was telling us with tears in her eyes what we were facing and a team of rock star Pediatricians from Children's Hospital in Vancouver were flown over to asses her. She was feverish, and having some trouble. My body literally broken having just given birth to a 9 pound 13 oz baby girl, my emotional state, never more fragile. All I could do was hold her little hand through the clear walls of the incubator and silently pray. Luckily, the rock star pediatric team gave us amazing news. She was going to be ok. Maisie and I were air lifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Nanaimo where she stayed for three very long days. The nurses and doctors all assured us eventually that she was just fine, and she passed all tests and we were finally aloud to bring her home. Bringing her out of the hospital everything seemed more beautiful.

Two weeks ago, Maisie was back in Emergency with difficulty breathing. I had her in my arms and was going to register her, I looked to my left and saw Chris Black (Kimberly Wood's mom). I was in a hurry to check Maisie in, but the look on her face... kind of broke my heart. How many times has she been sick with worry about her little girl (who has grown into a talented, caring, nurse herself). How many times had her and her husband Bill looked at each other with those worried, but trying to keep it together looks on their faces. I couldn't stop picturing Kim as a little girl (they were our neighbors growing up) and Kim was probably the cutest baby/little girl ever (aside from Maisie of course). Holding the nebulizer to Maisie's little face I could see Kimmy downstairs in their family home with the mask on, taking pills, laying on that weird brown fold up physio bed having her back thumped on (part of her daily physio). I could see her dad squeeze her hand when he walked her down the isle and the look on her moms face. I could see her giving every speech at every Rod Brind'Amour Golf Classic. I could see the whole family fighting. Fighting for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, for better drugs, for more improvements, for a better life and a longer life for Kim. So, when they gave me medication for Maisie and told me that it would pass. We sighed a deep sigh of relief, but I also thought about what it is like for the doctors to say "Cystic Fibrosis" instead. Being a parent, I get it even more now than I ever did before. When there is something wrong with your child. THE WHOLE WORLD STOPS and nothing matters, except your baby.

Chris and Bill Black are the most inspiring human beings you will ever meet or know. They are fighting, Kim is fighting. Sometimes the fight seems overwhelming, like it might be too much... you'll see Kim's statuses go to "Not particularly excited about my upcoming hospital food, hospital bed, PICC line and having my life revolve around an IV medication schedule. I suppose it'll be nice to be able to take a deep breath though." And then, we she turns a corner and comes out fighting... they go to "Just wanted to say thank you all so very much for all your well wishes, thoughts, positive healing energy and everything else you've all sent me. I feel so loved and cared for and am happy to finally be out of the hospital! Although I'm still on IV antibiotics, I'm feeling a little stronger and ready to kick some CF ass." And, you want to stand up and cheer and yell and hug someone. Kim is an inspiration and I love her dearly.

Which brings me to our Happiest Halloween Ever event. I love kids in costume (dogs too for that matter) and with everything Kim was going through I was shocked that I hadn't done a fundraiser myself for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. I noticed a friend on facebook Jacquilyn Avery Photography doing some Halloween mini sessions for autism. I was instantly on board, and couldn't wait to do it for Cystic Fibrosis. Awesomeness everywhere. It is totally a WIN WIN situation. I get to spend a few hours photographing your hilarious small people all dressed up, and you get photos of your little ones dressed up, and Cystic Fibrosis Canada makes money. I LOVE IT. Come! Join us!

Let's have some laughs, raise some money and be even more awesome than we thought we were today. I love you all for your amazing support!!!

(phewf, we made it. That was an emotional and long one.) First a few images of Kim with her parents on her wedding day in August 2008 (fundraiser info to follow).

There is no minimum donation, but you can give whatever your heart is inspired to and whatever you can afford. We are creating a positive, fun experience to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis and to raise some money for an amazing cause. I am also doing it, to show the beautiful Kimberly Wood... that we ALL LOVE HER, support her and are fighting right along side her. In the little ways that we can. She is not alone. (I know there are other amazing kids in Campbell River with Cystic Fibrosis and we are of course, fighting for you all too! But... Kim is pretty close to my heart.)

Details are below and if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask! Also, if you are a local business and would like to donate something for this event, or have any ideas on how to entertain a hopefully long line of people (kids) please let me know! The photos will happen in a line up style. No appointment necessary! Please share this poster, and this post with anyone you can!

Perchance... to laugh.

There are many beautiful gifts in this world. They come in the most amazing packages, and at times, exactly when you need it.

What I find amazingly rewarding, is to witness, and be apart of one of the most beautiful gifts of all, laughter. Where there is laughter there is joy, freedom, and most importantly there is hope.

In my travels, and right here at home...I have learned that not all childhood is bright, sunny and full of happiness. Sadly, so many children are not smiling, or laughing. So, when I can witness children exploding with joy... well that my friends is pure happiness.

This session originates from the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's need for images. I've partnered with them to create a bit of a stock library for their fundraising materials, brochures documents, etc... I've had a long and profound connection with the foundation because of my Uncle Michael's early loss of life because of CF. Also the long and beautiful relationship with the Black Family.

In any case, I'm always thrilled to do whatever I can, and I love this cause!!! The Campbell Rivers annual Rod Brind'Amour Golf Classic is also coming up, and if you have anything you would like to donate, to the silent or live auction, or wish to help out in any way, please do not hesitate to contact them.. HERE!

Now! The sun is shining... that is my cue... Have an amazing weekend everyone! Thanks always, for all of your love and support, your comments make my day ALWAYS!

And go on, have a laugh, you'll feel better!

Kim and James could use your help...

Many of you expressed a sincere impact that the photos from Kim and James Wedding had on you. They may have a bit more when you learn of the past 2 weeks events. Kims sister Tara has started a blog to keep us updated on James' condition and progress. This is a bit from Tara's blog...

"On Thursday September 25th at three in the morning, James and his band mates were in a tragic car accident near Brandon, Manitoba. James and his band (The Hotel Lobbyists) were following their dream of touring across Canada, and were only a few days from arriving back home in Vancouver. It was a terrible accident that resulted in the unfathomable loss of their drummer and close friend, Mike Gurr. The accident involved only their van which went off the road and rolled. James was thrown from the vehicle and has been fighting for his life ever since. He is in ICU at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre. Kim, his mother, father, sister, and my mom are all in Winnipeg with him."

You can read more about James' condition here... http://www.kimandjameswood.blogspot.com/

Kim has spent most of her life in and out of hospital with Cystic Fibrosis. She is such a pillar of strength, love and compassion... and takes nothing for granted. To give you an idea about the kind of human being that James is... he organized and created an entire music festival with all proceeds going directly to Cystic Fibrosis. These two are not ordinary people, and most certainly didn't see all of this coming.

It is all incredibly sad, and tragic and even depressing that these things can happen to such wonderful people... but the good news is.... we can help them.

DONATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS to helping these two amazing people pay rent, bills and help them pull through this (when they eventually WILL) can be made with the following information from Tara Black.

"A number of people have asked where they can send money to help - which is so tremendously generous. There has been a trust fund set up through the Royal Bank - you can contribute through any Royal Bank, and have it sent in the courier bag to: James and Kim Wood, Brooks Landing Branch, Nanaimo, Transit #3160, Att Sue Gibson.

Or if you would prefer, you're more than welcome to send a cheque to me (Tara Black), made out to Kim Black that I will get to her. My address is 1003 - 2041 Bellwood Avenue, Burnaby, BC, V5B 4V5. "

Thank you to any or all of you who contribute to these two.

Betcha wont be complaining about your thighs, or nasal congestion or jeans being too tight today huh. I know I wont.

Life is so fragile. Lets help Kim and James through this.