Friday, 5 June 2009

A Story of Two Gifts and a Little Miracle

'I've Got You Back!'

'Little Miracle'
So far, the transplant recipients I have met and photographed have had time to enjoy their new organs and to give thanks for and celebrate their gifts of life. This is Ava and she has a long way to go along her journey recovering from her liver transplant. I say liver transplant. What I really mean is 'liver transplants'. Ava received a life saving liver transplant a month ago. Sadly, there were complications and the transplant failed, leaving her without a functioning liver. She was listed for a super urgent second transplant. Ava's other organs began to fail, she experienced a cardiac arrest and her parents were told that there was nothing more that could be done and they would need to begin to think about turning off all the life support that was keeping their daughter alive. Ava's Mum. Laura, said that Ava must have heard this because she began to fight back. Five days later, Ava's second gift of life was given. She is making steady progress but her organs have taken a bashing from it all and it will take time for her to recover fully.
Laura asked me to photograph Ava and I was honoured to do so. She is beautiful and loves posing for the camera, even at the moment while on so many drugs and machines. The shots you see here are in natural light but were not as sharp as I would have liked so I went back later and re-shot with fill in flash. By then, she was tired, but kept opening her eyes when she heard the shutter go and tried to interact with the camera as best she could. I can see what a little fighter she is! I am sure her family have lots of days ahead to enjoy the full impact of her new life but, for now, it was wonderful to capture that relief that comes with knowing you have your precious child back. I am so glad Laura asked me to take these and invited me to use them in the 'Gifts of Life' project. These images are unique in showing the early days after transplant and the project is richer for being able to include them.