A year ago I had the honor of photographing Miss Courtney Slatick. I had the goal of helping her raise awareness of her rare disease, SMA Syndrome. She had the goal of not only raising awareness, but putting out a positive message to women of all ages, that despite the tubes that were hanging out of her body, she was still beautiful. You can see the original blog post, watch her video and see her photos from that session here: http://laughlovephoto.blogspot.com/2012/03/beautiful-and-brave-sma-survivor.html
When I met Courtney I knew right away she would do great things with her life. She had a positive attitude and a survivor mentality. She had a motivational drive within her that I knew would propel her to achieve any goals she set. I could tell she was a fighter and instantly the image of "Rosie the Riveter" came to mind. I have waited a whole year to do my take of Rosie and it was a year well worth it. Here's Courtney with her own "Yes, I can" attitude!
In the last year Courtney has gone through school to get her CENA Certification to 'give back' as she says. She wants to take care of people the way she was taken care of. She wants to be a message of hope to people that might need a positive influence during their time of illness and need. She wants to follow in the footsteps of the great staff at Michigan's Mott Children's Hospital.
Although she still struggles with her SMA and it's side effects, Courtney's back to living a normal life. She's back to playing volleyball with friends. She's back to a tube free stomach and eating real food. And she's completely head over heels for a wonderful young man. When I asked if he was her 'forever', she giggled and said 'oh, I hope so!'. Eek, I just love happy endings...
To keep up with Courtney's story, become a fan of her Facebook page for SMA Syndrome Awareness.