Up until now I have been operating on faith. Not a higher power sort of “faith” but faith in beauty, in love, in the humanity of people. I believed that I had something to offer… that because of my journey with Riley I had a unique perspective of the sheer power I could capture. That belief has consumed me. It has haunted me. It has made me feel powerless in the quiet hours when I’ve struggled with the “how to’s” and it has empowered me into moments of action.
The logistics behind bringing my ideas to life have been daunting to say the very least. Starting a nonprofit…how the hell do you do that? Let me tell you…google…that’s how. I have poured countless hours staring at this very screen figuring it all out, filling out paperwork, teaching myself to build a website, building said website and researching everything under the sun including the basics of photography. Because you see…I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never started a non-profit, built a website and truth be told I’m not even a photographer. Not my trade. I just have a camera. That’s it and it’s not even really mine. My best friend and business partner purchased it because I have taken photos over the years of the many homes and projects we have worked on for our portfolio. I don’t even own a single lens. I have been fortunate enough to borrow them from Meg or rent them for the days I shoot.
This is why I say I have been operating on faith. Because when you don’t actually know what you’re doing but believe in it to the point that it makes you physically ill to not act on…that’s faith. Every time I get a request to shoot I swipe my credit card for the gas money to get me there with the faith that this work matters more than not acquiring more personal debt. I walk into the hospital inhaling the will to be of service to those families and exhaling the hope that my faith will serve me. I then go home and hold my breath as the images upload onto my laptop silently begging that I captured the beauty I knew to be in the room…that they’re in focus, that they’re well composed, that they’re enough.
Yesterday I finally set aside my fear and shared this work on the Life of Riley Facebook page. Within 24 hours there have been almost 18,000 views on that single post. I have received a flood of comments, messages and emails from people that have overwhelmed me in the best kind of way. So many of you have reached out and asked how to help, how to be a part of this…you already are. Reading, sharing, sending love as you did for Riley will drive this work. Donations will make it possible. This program is cost free for the families but that does not mean that there is not a cost involved. My guess is you already knew that. I have had many ask what the immediate needs are for The Mark Makers… Answer: Funding & Fundraising. More Specific (Funding): equipment (lenses, computer, etc…), travel expenses (gas, parking, etc…) and general operating expenses (legal fees, software, time, coffee) ;-) More Specific (Fundraising): Hosting events, fundraising in your community, spreading awareness, teaching me what you know about fundraising since I know nothing…ya know…that kind of thing.
Thank you all for always supporting me…for reading what I have to say and reminding me that it matters, for never judging (at least outloud) my typos and potty mouth, for believing in the strength of my child and now the countless others that I will encounter and serve. You have made an immeasurable impact on my life and now collectively we will spread that impact to the hoards of other families affected by pediatric illness. So much gratitude…thank you, thank you, thank you.
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