Monday, 24 August 2009

This woman is awesome!

Louise - truely beautiful in every sense of the word

I know that I am constantly saying here that the person I met today is truley inspirational, awesome, amazing... All of these wonderful people I have photographed are that. Each of the stories I have told on this blog are of people who have been through what most never even contemplate and have come out shining like gold. Within these stories are a handful of people who are those people who touch you. You meet them and you know your life is never going to be the same again, that they have given you something special of themselves and that it will shape the rest of your life. Louise is one of these people.
Louise is an advocate for Life Live Then Give Life. You can read the beginning of her amazing (see I've said it again) story here As italic writing at the botton of the page says, Lou got her transplant. Like the other transplant recipients I have introduced you too, her story doesn't end there. Unlike some of the others though, her story has remained one of fight, tremendous courage and great uncertainty. Louise lives about 10 minutes from me. Her photo shoot should have been the easiest to arrange but it has been the hardest and, in the end, I grabbed her after lunch while I was photographing all the advocates for LLTGL at their away weekend yesterday. I was meant to be photographing her today in the woods at the top of Addington Hill (she was going to get a taxi there not climb). I could tell within a few minutes of meeting her that, after the advocate's weekend, that was going to be too much for her. We had tried about five times to arrange the shoot but, each time, Lou is just too tired.
Transplants are dangerous. They are life saving but they are dangerous. At assessment for transplant, you are given a huge list of potential complications. One of these is something called PTLD. This is a form of cancer caused by the common old glandular fever virus. In an immunosupressed person the virus can multiply locally in the body and cause a malignant tumour. Sadly, Lou is currently battling PTLD and undergoing chemotherapy. If that were not enough, she also has a form of heart failure caused by her underlying condition that led to her needing her lung transplant.
One of these things alone would be enough to make most of us give in and take a time out from life. Not Lou. She was there at the advocate weekend with her Mum's support and remains fully commited to raising awareness of transplants and organ donation. On September 6th, Louise is going to hug a tree for 2 hours to raise money for Live Life Then Give Life and CLIC Sargent. Why not sponsor her here. Louise truely is inspirational and it isn't just the things she is doing. She oozes optimism and positivity. I have spoken to her on the phone when she could hardly breathe at all and she still bubbled over with vibrancy. You can see it in her eyes as soon as you meet her and I hope the pictures show it. You come away from any contact with Louise thinking, if she can be so positive about the lot she has on her plate then I should be able to find so much to smile about. Her attitude to life is infectious. I can't wait to see her again and I know I will take something of her spirit away with me through the rest of my life's journey so thank-you Lou.
You can follow Louise's blog here. I strongly recommend it, especially on a day when you are feeling a bit sorry for yourself.