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"Our story is that, no matter the degree, we are fighting this together."


A mother and daughter with the unique bond of a shared MS diagnosis. Lucille, lovely in that feminine, Eastern European way, was diagnosed about 13 years ago, and is now in a wheelchair. She has lost the use of her right hand and on the day I visited, was a little more aloof than her daughter. She is quiet, doting, and her adoration for her grandsons is mutual. She is also patient; she has been waiting for stem cell therapy for 8 years. The agony of waiting is unimaginable, and I am furious thinking of how moneyed Conservative values will, as always, fight to defer hope for so many people who could be helped.

I met her daughter, Vanessa, through a mutual friend who remembers Vanessa as an “artsy”, slightly rebellious high schooler. I don’t necessarily see the punk haircut in this bubbly, positive mom serving chicken nuggets to a 3-year-old. But she is definitely a fighter. Opposite of Lucille, she experiences symptoms and weakness on her left. She fights fatigue, uncertainty, fear. And, I am sure, the frustration of suffering invisibly. People with Relapsing-Remitting MS have the added burden of often “looking ok”- getting glances for using handicapped parking spots, for bailing out of social events. Sometimes, a wheelchair is easier because people know what to expect.

It’s these parallels and differences that spoke to me in this shot. Mike is an awesome kid- sharp, kind and and funny. Here, he’s engaged in technology, games, possibilities. Vanessa engages, because she feels good today and appreciates every second of it. Lucille is somewhat more removed- I can’t quite read her expression. There is love, but there is distance. Each has an inner life that a camera can’t quite catch, but it’s neat when you catch those three lives together.