Gifts of Life is gathering momentum fast. I am in contact with someone about it every day, often several times a day. I am delighted to be working in a formal partnership with Live Life Then Give Life and that the Gifts of Life project now includes a sub set of work entitled 'Give and Let Live' by the photographer Holly Cocker. Last year, Holly received a kidney from one of her close friends and her work explores the relationships between live kidney donors and their recipients. For me, it is fanstastic to be working closely with Holly and the Live Life Then Give Life team. Over the last two years, I have been working pretty much alone at home, or in hospital most of the time before William received his own gift. It is so nice to be doing a project with other people again. Thie gift of life extends beyond the transplant recipient and the very process of doing this project is, to me, a celebration of that and how I am using the gift we were given the day William received his transplant. I am constantly amazed of how the transplant community comes together to support each other. I am blown away by the support I am receiving in this project.
The more I get to know people, I also see how well we support each other in general. We share celebrations when someone gets that wonderful call or meets a significant milestone. we cry together when someone gets a knockback or loses the fight to keep going while waiting for a transplant or when post transplant complications knock an already weakened body down just a notch too far to recover. We all remember that transplants involve the giving of a gift and that act has two sides to it and I know that we all think of our wonderful donor families during all these times too. Sadly, I already know too many people who have lost their fight both waiting for transplants and due to post transplant complcations. Yesterday, the transplant community came together again to support each other over our sadness to hear another very young life had been lost. News like this makes me all the more determined to make this project as powerful and successful as it can me. My work is dedicated to everyone in this precious community and I so hope I produce something we can all be proud of.
Everytime I am in contact with a new individual or family who are offering to be involved in this project I am introduced to a new story. These stories inspire me so much. These are stories of hope for people on transplant waiting lists, stories of joy for those enjoying their gifts and stories of loss mixed with pride for those who donated their organs or who lost their loved ones while waiting for them. Tomorrow, I am off to Leeds to meet and photograph a little girl waiting for a new heart. I know a little of her story and can't wait to hear more about her. I also love the challenge of ensuring that these stories are captured in the images that will be seen in the exhibitions and in the photo book. I want the viewers to be able to understand something of these stories in the images they see. I want them to look at the pictures and experiences something emotional but I also want them to feel they have been looking at a collection of stories.