This blog follows a bit of our personal and professional life, and features images from weddings and portrait sessions we've done, the places we traveled, and the adventures of our combined family-life. It's basically an ever-changing photo album combined with an information source for current and potential clients. Thanks for visiting!
Monday, October 14, 2013
We could have begun this post with a sentence like, "Once upon a time lived a young princess...", but that might lead you, our reader, to believe that this story wasn't true, or that our female protagonist has had fairytale challenges that she has so sweetly overcome. A little too contrite. Instead, we want to tell you the true story of Michele and Brandon of Worcester, MA - two true loves who found each other through adversity and serious medical challenges, and still triumphed in the end. But triumph isn't always a complete and utter victory over what ails you, is it? Triumph is living with life-threatening illness with dignity and courage and perseverance. And that is the real truth of this story.
Six years ago, a colonoscopy procedure revealed that Michele had a Stage 3B carcinoma, requiring surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Living with her ongoing illness, Michele began dating her co-worker from another department, Brandon, already two years after her first diagnosis. When Michele developed a nagging cough and loss of her voice, a visit to her doctor revealed the cancer had spread to her lungs. Once again, chemotherapy sessions ensued, but they made her so ill, she had to discontinue them. When 2011 rolled around, Michele endured more chemo, with Brandon always by her side. Finally, on Christmas Day, 2011, Brandon proposed!
In 2012, Michele's severely high fevers and high white blood cell counts prompted more x-rays, which revealed she had a perforated bowel. More surgery. More chemo. Unable to work, Michele is faced with the reality that she will continue chemotherapy, off and on, for the rest of her life. Even as she prepared to be wed, there were weeks when she couldn't do very much at all.
Michele tells us, "I'm so thankful to have met the love of my life who is always by my side. Brandon is always going above and beyond for me, researching dietary guidelines for colon cancer, and learning coping skills. He takes care of me when I'm sick, and takes me out to enjoy life every moment that we can. I am truly blessed."
Because the costs of a wedding were prohibitive for Michele, having endured so many health problems, along with financial challenges they've faced during the past 10 years, Michele's cousin, Carrianne Allen of BugaBoo Confections, and yours truly, decided to reach out to as many small, local wedding vendors as possible to see who would be interested in helping this couple achieve their wedding dream.
And step up to the plate they did -- in addition to a complimentary wedding cake and wedding photography, Michele and Brandon's story attracted Nancy and Judy Whalen of Creative Papers, Ltd. in Shrewsbury for invitations, DJ Kevin Whitney of West Boylston for entertainment, Virginia Orlando and Candace Atchue of Seed To Stem Botanicals in Worcester for florals, and Jeffrey Robert Salon in Worcester for the gals' hair and make-up.
All combined, the generosity of these 'boutique' style businesses in the central MA region meant a few thousand dollars in wedding details that the deserving couple didn't have to stress over! The bride and groom chose local favorite, the Leicester Country Club as their wedding venue for both the ceremony and reception. Many thanks to Chuck Bois who assured the day ran smoothly, and who cheerfully drove the golf cart with us in tow so we could enjoy creating formal portraits at the covered bridge.
The opportunity exists for a 2014 Charity Wedding by this group of wedding service providers, who've named the group, "Worcester Weddings With Heart" ... if you know of anyone in central or eastern MA who has suffered severe hardship due to life-threatening illness, we encourage you to reach out to any of the vendors linked here. Additionally, we do hope several more local businesses will join in our future endeavor, specifically in the areas of bridal couture and accessories, men's wear, wedding day transportation and videography services, to name just a few.
Leave your love comments here for Michele and Brandon as we wish them continued joy!
Chris & Vickie