The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
September is recruitment month for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and I'm one of their biggest fans. It started with my friendship with Sandy Puc, one of the organization's two founders. In fact, it was around twelve years ago she gave me the approval to use two of her images of babies in my marketing presentations, which I've pulled out of my early Power Point slides below. These two images couldn't be more appropriate for "Throwback Thursday".
A few years later, Sandy and Cheryl Haggard founded NILMDTS. It was one of Sandy's hospital displays that Cheryl saw and prompted her to contact Sandy for images of her son, Maddux.
"Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on Feb. 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy. It prevented him from breathing, swallowing or moving on his own. On the sixth day of his young life, his parents, Mike and Cheryl Haggard had to make the excruciating decision to take him off life support. Before they did, they called photographer Sandy Puc’ to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son. Puc’ photographed the couple with Maddux at the hospital before he was removed from life support and after — when he was free from the tubes and the wires that had sustained him."
Yesterday I shared a guest post from Amy Hales, one of NILMDTS's affiliated photographers from Utah. As of now the post has had well over 10,000 reads, 371 shares on Facebook and over 6000 "Likes" between SCU and the shared post on NILMDTS's Facebook page.
There are so many worthy charities involved in photography. Whatever you choose, it's important for you to be involved in something that allows you to give back. It's a key element in building your brand awareness as an artist and in general, just as a member of your community.
It's ironic that what I love most about NILMDTS is also the reason so many photographers think getting involved is over their head. It's an emotional roller coaster. Yet, over and over again I keep hearing two similar themes that have become common denominators.
First, is from families who cherish the support they've received from NILMDTS. There's a relationship that's immediately established between the families and the photographers. There have also been dozens of comments, mostly from mothers, who have expressed regrets that NILMDTS wasn't around when they lost babies of their own.
Second, and so significant, is the impact of being involved has had on the photographers themselves. Over and over again, photographers have written about these cherished moments giving their skill set new meaning. Being involved and using their techniques as portrait artists has given them a stronger sense of purpose.
That brings me full circle to this morning's post. I couldn't be more proud to be able to help NILMDTS spread the word. The reaction from so many of you has been remarkable. You've commented, shared the post and done an amazing job, far exceeding anyone's expectations in building awareness for a wonderful group of people and cause. And, to those of you who are affiliated NILMDTS photographers already, thank you for taking photography to a very special level of memory capture. You're providing an amazing service to help ease the pain of so many families.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.