Friday, 7 August 2009

Jemma, Michelle and Thirty Amazing Children

It has been a while since I last posted on here. I went away on holiday to Mum and Dad's with the children a couple of days after the meeting Nicola and Megan. While I was there, I met Jemma and her Mum Michelle. Michelle and Mum got chatting one day and quickly became good friends, not least because they had something very big in common. Mum was Grandma to a little boy who we knew was likely to need a small bowel transplant at some time and Michelle was Mum to a grown up girl who was waiting for a kidney transplant.
Jemma was diagnosed with end stage renal failure six years ago, in 2003. Michelle donated a kidney to Jemma in 2004 but, sadly, the transplant failed within hours. After four years on the transplant waiting list, Jemma received a second transplant in August last year, just as William was going on the waiting list for his new bowel. This kidney was rejected after four months and Jemma is now back on dialysis and waiting for a third chance at a new life, free of the tubes and machines that keep her alive. Jemma does her own dialysis at home overnight, a system called APD or ambulatory peritaneal dialysis. She does this overnight, every single night of her life.
We shot Jemma and Michelle's photographs in Mum and Dad's lovely garden and conservatory. It was a dull summer evening and it began to rain hard during the shoot. This was something that became a very powerful feature on the image I will be using for the exhibiton, an image I really like and had to fight hard with myself not to show you now.
However, I can share some more photos of some amazing and inspirational children. We went straight from Mum and Dad's to The British Transplant Games in Coventry. William was competing with the Birmingham Children's Hospital Team and I had the privilege to photograph them throughout the weekend, as well as talking to the children about their transplants, the games and how both have influenced their lives. It was a fantastic and moving experience. The children are awesome and I was so proud to see them win the trophies for the best liver team and the best overall children's team for the 14th year in a row.
Do have a look at them. A few of them will be used in the Gifts of Life exhibition but I am not sure which ones yet. There are so many that I really like and all of them tell a story about transplants and how they save and transform lives. You can find them here.

1 comment:

  1. I can tell how passionate you are about telling stories through photography. These are such beautiful, bold always I think they're fab! :-) xx