One of Sun & Sparrow’s friend photographers and peers has begun his journey in one of the most tragic stories I have experienced. This past Wednesday, our inbox unexpectedly began to flood of inquiries from brides and grooms whose weddings were less than a month away. Concerned and confused, I looked into contacting their former photographer, Anthony Carbajal. Why would his booked wedding couples be looking for another photographer? As I searched through Facebook, I found out that Anthony had been diagnosed with ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and my heart melted in sadness.
JUST WHAT IS ALS? // Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. // See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/for-anthony-with-love/
Anthony was a very talented photographer and business owner with an amazing heart. But because of his disease, he has to give up on his career forever. His dreams and passions had been shattered in an instant. Ellie and I were in shock, but all we could think is “How can we help support Anthony? What do we have to offer? How could we give all of these poor brides and grooms the same talent and quality that they had hoped for?”. Ellie and I began to contact these devastated couples who had lost their wedding photographer, trying to help in any way we could. We felt awful about taking his clients from him knowing that his contracts would not be fulfilled and he would have to refund them in full.
Then, all of a sudden, Facebook lit up and Anthony was everywhere! All of our photographer peers were sharing the story! Not only were they sharing his story, but they started raising money for him and for his family. As the love and support for Anthony grew, one of my favorite photographers, Jeremy Chou Photography set up a way that photographers can donate their services to donate their time and service to fulfill all of Anthony’s contracts. All of the proceeds will help Anthony with upcoming costs of his medical bills as well as personal expenses. Ellie and I could only think about how amazing it is to be stand behind him. We were so proud to see everyone rally behind him in this tragedy.
Sun & Sparrow has decided that we want to share our commitment to serving others by taking on one of Anthony’s weddings. Showing how much we love him by offering our complete services without receiving the payment was a difficult decision for us. But this decision was made with much prayer. We have every hope that through this, we can share Christ’s love and selflessness to Anthony as well as everyone involved. Every morning I sit with my coffee and my bible asking God, “Show me how to be like you, Lord. Show me how to serve and love you more. Give me the strength to trust & follow what you say.” We now have this opportunity to share our hopes and faith with so many people. By doing this, we can offer just a little more hope to a hopeless situation. This is what Sun & Sparrow wants to live for; seeking to be a joy and a blessing to as many people as possible.
Here is a little bit about Anthony’s story & struggle: // “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.” // You can Read more about his grandmother’s & mother’s struggle with his ALS, http://anthonycarbajal.com/
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. Show your love for Anthony Carbajal. 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.
A great photographer, an amazing man, & a strong spirit. We stand behind you in love & in prayer. Christ will cover you in healing and love. Even through tragedy, God’s ways are good and powerful. God loves you through all of this, Anthony! AND so do we! Thank you for all the strength you’ve shown us through this.
All photos are property of Anthony Carbajal Photography. All photos used with permission.