This is not going to be a typical photography blog where it's mainly pictures. At least not in the beginning of the story. I want you, the reader, to know this beautiful couple so that you can appreciate how far they have come.
I first met Christine when she became the Assistant Director at Winwood Children's Center in Leesburg, VA. That is where all of my children attended before I quit my 9-5 job to pursue photography full time. (And PS- we L-O-V-E-D Winwood, and in my opinion, it's the best daycare in Loudoun County.) Christine was often the first person you would see when you walked in the door. She would always have a smile on her face and was always so welcoming and warm. She and the Director (Missy) are a large reason why Winwood feels like a family.
When I first decided to open Fluttering Shutter Photography, I wanted to do some portfolio building and learn more about how to take great images and use my new camera. So, I offered free sessions. Christine and Andrew were some of my very first clients! (As you can see by the picture below, they are adorable. My photography at the time? It needed some work!) By the way, I promise that I didn't tell her to pop her foot, but she naturally does it when she kisses her love.
Then later that year, they won a mini-session with me for holiday pictures. It was HOT out, even though it was fall, but that's typical Virginia weather. We had to pretend that it was cold with a scarf and matching mugs for some holiday pictures. But this picture is possibly one of my very favorites because you can SEE the love.
Remember when I talked about Winwood being a family? Well, I truly mean it and you can ask any parent that I know and they'll say the same. Because of that feeling of family, we were all devastated to learn that Christine had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She had just been at work with her smiley face and all of the sudden, she had been admitted to the hospital with a really aggressive form of cancer. By the way, Christine explained to me today that because it presented in her lymphnodes, she has Lymphoma. (Lymphoma awareness is lime green, whereas Leukemia awareness is orange, just in case you were wondering.)
Ever since her diagnosis, she has been fighting to get better. She went through months and months of chemo and trips in and out of the hospital, all the while having to be super careful not to get sick because she had no immune system to fight off an infection. But Christine wasn't fighting alone. She has had friends and family surrounding her from the beginning. Andrew spent so much time in the hospital with Christine, but he also had to work and take care of their adorable (yet skittish) Greyhound, Cupid. So, people filled in the gaps. Her family, his family, their friends, everyone rallied around her and brought them meals, prayed for her, prayed with her, donated money to help cover medical bills. They had (and continue to have) a village of support.
A few months back Christine and I were talking over Facebook and she said that she really wanted to have an image of her and Andrew for when she goes back into the hospital for her bone marrow transplant. Naturally, I said that I would love to do this session with them. So, we set up a date and I really couldn't be more pleased at how the portraits came out. Christine got her make-up done by the amazingly talented Glossy by Stacy Hockenbury and she looked GORGEOUS!!! Here are some of my favorites from the day:
Hair, glorious haiiiirrrrrrr!!
See?? Natural foot pop!!
Twirling in the grass.
Christine is absolutely a fighter and will succeed in beating ALL. I wish nothing but the very best for her and Andrew. Their love is so beautiful and such an inspiration. Keep fighting Christine, and Christine's Crew will keep rallying around you and reminding you that you can and WILL make it through. You, my friend, are one of the most beautiful people that I know, both inside and out.
PS- You ROCK the short hair!!!