Early in my career when I was unsure about what kind of photography I wanted to do I can remember my photojournalism professor saying “This is not something you do for the money, this is something you do because you absolutely love it”. Well, I can tell you she was spot on on both; I don’t have much money, but I absolutely love what I do, mainly because this gives me an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and when I get a really boring assignment I tried to remind myself that whatever it is, it is important to somebody.
With Marisa it was the other way around, it was she who made a difference in my life. When I first got the assignment I had all this thoughts of how depressing this was going to be. Being a mother myself, I thought it was going to be too much for me to bear. But it took me just one minute of interacting with Marisa to know this was going to be more than your typical story about a child with a rare disease. The first sentences that came out of her mouth were a combination of some very sophisticated words, so much, that I often found myself asking her to please explain to me what some of those words meant. (She’s only 5 years-old and I’m…not telling)
She literally has the face of an angel, perfect skin, the cutest pink lips I have ever seen and pair of bright big green eyes that draw you right into her soul. She constantly giggles, loves cheetah prints and is hard to beat on the dance floor. She has a passion for life that is hard to match, so much, that at times it made me forget that she fights for her life every minute of the day. I’m not getting into the details of her condition, but please read the story that Candice Ferrette wrote for Newsday here so you can get a better understanding of her daily struggle.
Marisa and her parents are the definition of courage and perseverance. I do believe things happen for a reason and although is hard to see it that way now, Marisa has the rare gift of making a positive impact in everybody that comes across her. It only took one minute for me. I look forward to seeing her grow and flourish into the extraordinary young girl she’s meant to be and who knows, maybe in a future not so far away she’ll trust me as her wedding photographer as well.