The purpose of this photo project is to bring awareness to Huntington Disease (HD) through photographing various families affected by the disease. I would like to show that even though a family may go through difficult times, they are still supportive, loving, and willing to rally around their loved ones no matter what. Thus, I want these photos to highlight strength, courage, and positivity in each of the families showcased.
For this endeavor, I have travelled throughout Canada to capture bits of daily life of those dealing with HD. To date, I’ve photographed several families in the Toronto area, and a collection of families in Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island. The photos will show different people, each at various stages of their disease, with their families. Showcasing the family along side the person who has been diagnosed is important as the disease affects everyone that is involved.
My own personal story with HD goes back to when I was quite young. My father suffered from Huntington Disease and eventually passed away from it in 2004. It was always hard for me to watch him struggle; he grew progressively worse until he could no longer walk, talk, or feed himself. After he passed away I was tested for the disease and was shocked to find that I also have HD. After finding out, my world stopped for awhile, but eventually my friends and family helped me through it, and I was trying to think of how I could turn my results into something positive.
Shortly after my diagnosis, I started volunteering with the Toronto Chapter of the Huntington Society, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t doing enough for HD, and that I wasn’t actually helping anyone on a larger scale. I tried to think of what I could do, and how my work could help the cause. It was with all of this in mind that I decided I could use my photography talents to document families who are also affected by this debilitating disease. I hoped that by documenting an entire family, I could illustrate how this disease affects not only the patient, but the family as a whole. I have found this whole experience to be an incredibly healing one. Seeing the strength people have at different stages of HD has really empowered me. My attitude has shifted for the better; I constantly find myself thinking, “If these people can get through this with a smile on their face, then so can I.” It is truly inspiring.
Please click on the collage to see a bigger image.