Family Photo Shoot for DIY SOS Welwyn Garden City
I was recently involved in something really special, something that actually blew my mind!
DIY SOS came to Welwyn Garden City to help a very amazing family and I got to be a part of that. The team came to transform Sascha’s family home enabling her to have kidney dialysis there instead of spending nearly all her week in hospital, allowing her to spend time with her 3 young children, husband and eldest son Charlie at home. Previously they only had one day a week together and they called this “happy Wednesday”.
Gaby, the designer from DIY SOS wanted to fill the house with family pictures of them all, personalising the place and making it feel like home…and I got to take these pictures. As luck would have it we were all free on happy Wednesday, and as huge numbers of local tradesmen sweated and toiled, we got to hang out in the shade of the woods and while away a couple of hours finding pine cones, making paper aeroplanes and searching for fairies…I took a few photo’s too!!!
Up to 200 volunteers helped with the project, and although I got to hang out with Sascha and her charming family I didn’t get to meet anyone involved with the construction and build. What I did get though was a sense of the hard work, grit and determination that got this project off the ground running. I got a sense of a community coming together. I felt peoples pride and warmth, their readiness to give something back. There was positivity, there was kindness, there was selflessness. (Is that even a word?!) I felt proud to be a part of that, I felt excited to be able to give something to this beautiful family that hopefully they will treasure. I hope my tiny part of all this lets them remember one happy Wednesday, one spent laughing, playing and feeling the anticipation that something bigger and life changing was going on.
Their new house enables them to change their lives. Sacha recently posted her gratitude and thanks …” all I’ve ever wanted is to be a great mum and wife. Which is hard when you are never there. Thanks to you I will be around always, never again will I miss the school play, sports day, a bumped head, grazed knee or just simply needing a cuddle!. Words are not enough to describe what you have done. I have lost many friends to this disease and was scared to imagine my future. I lost my dad and my brother when I was young and my biggest fear was that my kids would loose me. Thanks to you I can feel safe now in the knowledge that my health is going to be as good as it can possibly be from now on. Home dialysis is as good as having a transplant. I will never ever forget the summer of 2016 when 200 Angels turned up to help us. Everyone’s contribution has astounded me. I promise that I will live life to the fullest and never take life for granted. I wake up everyday absolutely beaming with joy! You have made my dreams come true and given me my life and whole world back. Thank you amazing people from the deepest depths of my heart x x x x x x x x”
What strikes me though the most is that I think a lot of people would thank Sascha, I certainly would. During a week when I was stressing out trying to figure out how to cope with four kids at home and a work load threatening to send me over the edge, I found clarity. I was reminded of the simple things in life, how we take them for granted and how important they are. I don’t think I was the only one on this project to feel that. I am blessed to be able to spend time with my kids, I am blessed to have my family around me, I am blessed to have good health. I am lucky and so grateful that a very special little family reminded me of this. When I looked back on their photo shoot and saw their smiles, their cuddles and laughter I knew in an instant that that was what was important. Time together. Forget deadlines, forget your untidy house, forget the bills…just don’t forget the ones you love.
As they emerged from their new home to an army of workers the kids were asked what the new house meant to them. They replied that it meant they could have their mummy back. I am so glad that so many people stood up and made this possible, i’m so glad that Sascha and her family will have a much better quality of life. They deserve it, I think they are great!
There were so many helpers involved in making the magic happen, too many for me to name. My images wouldn’t be looking as beautiful though without the help of Ken Bushbridge from Dragonfly Digital (see more here.) who kindly offered his services and printed all the photo’s.
With the permission of Sascha I am sharing a few of my favourites from the shoot. (There is a lot of black and white as that’s what Gaby wanted!)