As a mom, my heart broke for her. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to do all that I could to help her. I unrealistically wanted to make her all better. I couldn't imagine going through what she had gone through and was still going through. Her illness isn't cured, will never be cured and her body will never be the same again. As a woman, body image is a constant struggle, let alone having scars and tubes as permanent reminders of what you've been through. I just wanted to hug her and tell her she was brave and beautiful and so inspiring!
I was racking my brain on how to help her. How in the world could I be a voice for her? This brave young lady had already put herself out there on her self-made video. All I knew to do was to help her spread this video and gain awareness. To try and drive people to her Facebook page and hopefully get them to buy a wristband or donate to NORD. I reached out to her to do some photos with her. To help tell her story with photos and plaster her face all over my business page to try and get people's attention.
We started Facebooking and brainstorming ideas, then decided to meet up to go over a few things. As if it wasn't crazy enough that we lived in the same community and had never met, it turned out that she lived across the street from me. We are neighbors, who would have thought?!
We had our first photoshoot 2 days after her 9th surgery. I was ready to cancel it because I was sure she wouldn't feel up to it. HA! This girl is a girly girl and was too excited to have her photos taken. There was no way she'd let 'a little surgery' stand in her way of feeling beautiful. Hmm, maybe that's just the survivor in her?! Anyway, we played dress up. We tried a few different poses and I tried a few new ideas that I wasn't really sure if they'd work. They worked. And to date, this is one of my favorite photo sessions ever. EVER!
|Click to see all of Courtney's photo session|
Her goal in these photos was to feel like a beautiful woman despite the scars and tubes. To be a positive role model to young women with body image issues. To say that you ARE beautiful despite anything your head might be telling you. But her main goal was to get people to see that she is a survivor. That despite the illness that she will battle her whole life, she will live as normal a life as possible. She will keep fighting, she will keep wearing makeup, she will keep being a girly girl. She will still wear a bikini and proudly show her battle wounds. She will not let SMA keep her from loving and living life.
Miss Courtney Slatick, it's an honor to know you. It's an honor to have photographed such a strong young woman. You ARE beautiful and you ARE inspiring! Keep on fighting!!
Please take a moment and become a fan of Courtney's SMA Facebook page to keep following her story. Here you can make arrangements to buy a SMA Awareness bracelet for $1.
SMA Syndrome Awareness Page
To get more information about NORD or to donate in Courtney's name visit: