Sunday, 13 September 2009

Three Special Thank-Yous

Cherry, just 3 months after her kidney transplant


Two friends who helped each other through kidney disease and dialysis, now united as transplant recipients

Last week was a busy week for 'Gifts of Life' with two photo shoots, one a double shoot. Nelly has already been featured in this blog here
When I met her, Nelly told me about her friend Cherry and how they would like to be photographed together. At the time, Cherry had only received her transplant a few weeks ago. Nelly and Cherry met on the dialysis unit and became close friends. Cherry was born with the hereditory condition, PKD or polycystic kidney diease. Her father had the disease and also received a kidney transplant and her brother is currently in the early stages of disease. Cherry was very close to her father and he gave her strength to cope with the deterioration of her condition and going onto dialysis. Sadly, he died of a stroke two years ago and Cherry is sad he was not there to see her transplanted and to answer her questions about it. Cherry is a strong Christian and has always turned to God for help and guidance. This has been all the more important to her since she lost her Dad. She says her faith is what got her through losing him, her disease progression and her transplant.
Friends like Nelly have also been important. Nelly bought Cherry a bracelet after her transplant and a matching one for herself to represent their bond. As in some of the previous photo shoots, we were helped out with a highly appropriate piece of graffiti. I love the image of Nelly and Cherry holding hands in front of the 'yes yes' One for each of them to represent the donors and their families who said yes to them. Both girls talked of their donors and are incredibly thankful to them for the lives they now have. After a few more photos, to be seen in the exhibition and book, I left them with plans to spend the rest of the day looking around the Tate Modern. It was the first time they had been able to spend a day out together.

Richard Ready for the Off

Richard received a kidney and pancreas transpant two years ago. His life has also been transformed and he has been inspired by other transplantees and people waiting for their call to come. Many of these are people he has met on Facebook and the intoto forum He decided to express his thanks by taking on a challenge to raise money to help Live Life Then Give Life
develop their work in promoting organ donation. I photographed him the night before his cycle ride from London to Paris. The following four days would see Richard cycling up to 95 miles each day to complete his journey. He reached Paris yesterday and is now home tired but very proud of his achievements and thankful to the donor who made it possible for him. He has raised over £2000. A fantastic achievement!