This is the face of ALS

This is Matt.  He is 31 years young, loving husband and father of two precious boys. He had just turned 30 and welcomed their second son into their family, a pilot in the Navy – who began to have troubling symptoms before he was even 30.  Maybe you have had the good fortune if not yet knowing anyone affected by ALS.  Sadly for Matt and his family they are all too familiar with the devasting affect ALS will continue to have on their lives.Bellina family 2015-100saweb4It was an honor for me to spend time with them, to be in the presence of a family so full of life and laughter in the face of the tough hand they have been dealt. The ice bucket challenge last year thankfully has given so much more awareness to ALS.  We need to keep the momentum going though.  Here are some simple facts:  Every 90 minutes a new diagnosis is given, contributing to the 450,000 people worldwide living with ALS.  Most people diagnosed with ALS live only an average of 2-5 years after their first signs of the disease.  The symptoms begin with muscle cramping and twitching, and progress to complete immobility, including the ability to swallow and breath.   It is a horrific diagnosis, and for those with ALS there is absolutely no time to waste. Matt is working with ALS TDI – Therapy Development Instititute.   ALS TDI is the world’s first and largest biotech focused 100% on ALS research, led by scientests and people living with ALS influence in their lives.  It is a unique organization which is not proprietary with it’s research findings- which means they will openly work with other researchers, sharing their findings all in the highest priority of finding that cure.  Matt is also continuing to work with the Navy to encourage more funding to go toward research for ALS.  Military personnel are two times more likely to develop ALS.  Our nation’s bravest and strongest are no match for this disease. Our local Newtown Athletic Club is working in partnership with Matt to raise funds and awareness.  This past February they successfully surpassed their fundraising goals and raised $80,000 which went directly to Augie’s Quest, partnered with ALS TDI.   The NAC has committed to continue working with Matt and Augie’s Quest.  For more information please visit Matt’s Mission. Matt is listed as an ambassador for Young Faces of ALS, created to raise awareness through advocacy and fundraising.   The ice bucket money has given great momentum in tripling research dollars and improving the lives of those living with the disease.  But we do not have a cure yet, and there is no stopping the devastating affect of ALS until a cure is found.  Please take the time to increase your awareness, and consider helping in some way. In talking with Matt, he shared that there has been one positive side to having ALS.  The people he has met along the way whom he might not have otherwise, that have given him faith in humanity and the world his boys will grow up in.Bellina family 2015-271saweb3Bellina family 2015-169sawebBellina family 2015-186web3Bellina family 2015-225swebBellina family 2015-137sawebBellina family 2015-234sawebBellina family 2015-265sawebBellina family 2015-331sawebBellina family 2015-356saweb3Bellina family 179web3Bellina pair1Bellina pair2“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  - Winston Churchill

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October in Princeton

Beautiful fall day with a beautiful family in Princeton.  Love sessions like this, when the family brings their spirit and appreciation for each other, and it is merely my job to document it. Luckily this day I had an energetic photography student to work with me, thanks Lilly!

When someone tells me they have an 18 month old child, here are my thoughts:

1.  Awesome.  One of my favorite ages to photograph.

2.  Get ready to work for those images.

If you have a toddler at that age, you know what I mean. Independent, willful, and b-u-s-y.  The plan for that family image of sitting nicely in Mom or Dad’s lap is merely a wish list.   This gorgeous girl has allowed us a 17:1 ratio.  1 image of the family sitting together in the same focal plane t0 17 of her happily running away that is.   Gotta roll with it and love the uniqueness of this age.  Her older brother was fantastically patient in going with the flow (phew, thanks!)   Here is a glimpse of our evening

On a personal note, if you think you might have been missing out on JE Portraits blog postings this year… it was I who have been guilty of neglect.  I have been caught up in the crazy pace of my life (or more accurately, my kid’s lives).   Spent the last few months trying to make sense of the blur our lives have become, the days feel like sand slipping through my fingers…

Steering my way back to my love of family photography.

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