Please Support Becky
Photoshoot with Becky, Ottawa, Ontario, 3 May 2013.
This is another Spring shoot that got buried while I was working to sell my house. It's probably the least "Christmasy" shoot I could post right now, however the timing is actually fortuitous for a very special cause.
The model here is Becky Bodnar. Just yesterday she was featured on CTV News as a sufferer of the neurological disorder narcolepsy (video at the link). Her brain does not properly regulate sleep/wake cycles, leaving her in a continual state of sleep deprivation with numerous negative implications for her health.
In addition, Becky's condition is complicated by cataplexy, which is a sudden loss of muscle function that causes her to collapse without warning. It can occur suddenly due to her sleep-deprived state or be brought on by strong emotions such as laughter, surprise, or fear. When it occurs she falls wherever she is, regardless of what she may be doing at the time—walking down stairs, crossing a busy street, using a sharp knife or a hot stove, holding a baby... Becky is helpless to protect herself during these cataplexic attacks. The result is she has been to the Emergency Room in the past year about as frequently as most people gas up their car. :(
Aside from the physical injuries and continuous threat to her safety, her condition is also devastasting to her confidence and causes high levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Struck by this condition as she entered her 20's, she is no longer able to work or attend school to support herself.
Medical treatments for her condition involve extremely expensive medication ($100 per day!) and are no longer covered by her health insurance. Without access to these sorts of treatments, Becky is unable to regain some control over her life and health. A fundraiser has been started to assist Becky with the cost of treatments.
If you'd like to help Becky and/or narcolepsy sufferers in general, please check out the following links:
- Becky's fundraiser
- Becky's story on CTV News
- Narcolepsy awareness page on Facebook (started by Becky)—please click Like to help raise awareness!
- Wikipedia—narcolepsy and cataplexy
- Narcolepsy resources in Canada
As for the photoshoot, Becky was on my must-shoot list after I became smitten with her beautiful photos by fellow photographer Liz St. Jean. After a first meeting (which was interrupted by her condition), we squeezed a quick shoot into our Spring schedules. We found the first few trees to blossom in the Arboretum to use as our location.
Happily, Becky's condition let her do her photoshoot in peace (although if I recall correctly she'd had an episode earlier that day). Aside from occasionally grazing on some magnolia blossoms, she was perfectly normal. :)
All photos used natural sunlight supplemented by reflectors. Makeup, styling, and indomitable spirit all by Becky. :) Recommended theme music: "Roar" by Katy Perry. ;)