It’s a question we hope none of you ever have to answer, but one that a talented colleague and PetaPixel reader is facing with incredible optimism and strength.
Wedding photographer Anthony Carbajal was recently diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), better known as Lou Gherig’s disease. And he’s now reaching out to the photography community for support as he comes to terms with the end of a three-year professional career that was everything he could have hoped for.
ALS, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, is a degenerative disease that affects the motor neurons. The neurons that control movement begin to waste away and, slowly but surely, those who suffer from Lou Gherig’s disease lose the ability to do even simple tasks.
Over the past six months, Andrew has slowly felt a weakening in his hands and arms, and although he tried to pass it off as carpal tunnel for a while, his family history left little doubt about what it actually was. Speaking with Fstoppers, he describes how he got to this point:
The past six months my hands became noticeably weaker and both arms began twitching constantly… My last few weddings I had difficulties changing my camera settings because my hands were so weak… I tried to convince myself it was carpal tunnel even though I knew these were the same symptoms my mother & grandmother experienced before they were diagnosed with ALS.
I finally got health insurance and was seen by a neurologist… I was diagnosed on Monday January 27th. I had to cancel 26 weddings and need to return about $30,000 in deposits. I’m selling ALL my camera equipment to help refund all my brides and my family is attempting to raise money to help pay for my future medical insurance/costs, as well as my business expenses and taxes.
Anthony’s story is a stark reminder of how fragile our passions and dreams really are. It’s easy to take these things for granted but every minute spent capturing a beautiful moment or immortalizing a powerful portrait is a blessing, and one minute more than Anthony now has to spend on his passion.
With so much to pay back and a medical battle ahead of him, Anthony is reaching out to the photo community and asking for help during this trying time. If you can, please head over to Anthony’s YouCaring page and donate to help ease this burden on him and his family.
But even if you can’t help financially, it doesn’t mean you can’t help. Before you count your blessings today, be sure to stop by his Facebook page and offer a word of encouragement.
Image credits: Photographs by Anthony Carbajal and used with permission.