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"It's about the moment and enjoying life right now... a little denial helps, too."

Lev Gewirtzmen.jpg

Lev holds an afterparty for the MS Walk every year- in 2011, I had just started my journey, still uncertain of what I was really looking to answer. Lev had been a "mutual friend" for years- we met around the time I got dumped and spent most nights drinking, wearing sunglasses indoors and telling everyone (wrong numbers, even) I’d be alone forever. His voice was frank and funny, shaking me from a puddle of self-pity. “Nadine”, his eyes rolling, “I’m 5’4”, bald, wear glasses and have MS... and I  have a girlfriend.” I’ve never forgotten that, partly because I was such a sorry asshole, and partly because I’d never heard anyone really talk about having MS. When we'd ask how the other one was doing, whether after my mom's death or his rising stardom, I always felt like there was a deeper thing we were asking after.
 
Lev's emerged a Brooklyn chef and restaurant owner, a feat if you don't know about this amazing borough's food pageantry. He married that lovely girlfriend, become a father twice. He’s barely mid 30's.  He’s attributes it, in part, to how much time he has left. The unpredictability of MS, its ability to steal dreams and plans; that’s on the mind of this ambitious young dad. I shot this photo as they celebrated their MS Walk team’s success with a big taco feast, a happy, hopeful family of three (Sabrina was 3rd trimester with Desmond here). This was an awesome, joyful afternoon, celebrating the good that comes out of the bad.


Clyde, their older son, is a Hendrix fan and a total hoot. Lev and Clyde’s biggest lessons and happiest moments come through music, through the possibilities and dreams it reveals.  I wish Lev luck and fortune. Mostly, I wish him time.