Photographing A Stem Cell Donation
As a photographer I travel most of my life and capture time through the lens of my camera. I travel with many cameras, that each have a purpose, that each tell a story. When I am outdoors I have my trusty outdoor camera, lens, and tripod. When I am indoors, I have a camera and accessories for that. When there is a moment to capture and I am not prepared I have my cell phone camera that I often use to capture spontaneous events that arise in everyday life. My preference is to capture nature in it’s raw, pure, form. Nature is unforgiving, it can be brutal out there, animals kill to survive and Mother Nature has no feelings towards the human race. I have friends that have documented wars, there are currently photographers in Syria that are capturing the terrible events that are plaguing the region. Sadly, I have no interest in that. It hurts my heart that humans treat each other like they do. Life is so short and so precious, yet we waste it away on nonsense, focused on things that are not important and have no relevance beyond the simple minds that hold them close. I was reading an article the other day about an eight year old Muslim girl that was raped and murdered by another group in India that wasn’t of the same religion. It is such a sad world, that these events truly bring tears to my eyes. This is one of the many reasons why I have decided not to photograph people and events, but instead focus on nature, wildlife, and landscapes. That has been the case for 25 + years, until the other day while in California I ran into a a young man that was about to have a stem cell transplant because he found an exact match donor. I wanted to photograph the extraction of the stem cells but was unable to gain clearance into the medical facility. The next best thing I could photograph was the look on the stem cell donors face when he came out of surgery. It was a true moment of human kindness, to become a stem cell donor isn’t a quick simple process. It’s inconvenient, takes time, hurts, and isn’t something that you are rewarded for financially. However, the rewards of saving a life exceed any financial reward one could receive. The event was a heart touching event that brought tears to my eyes, watching another human being so compassionate towards someone in need. It gave me hope that as a human race we are not totally lost, but there are still good people out there that are willing to put themselves out for others. While talking with the young man about becoming a stem cell donor I wanted to learn more about the process, and how I could possible offer my stem cells to someone in need. Stem cells are like blood types, you need an exact match for the transplant to be successful. Therefore, there is a constant need for donors to register and give to those in need. He turned me on to the Gift of Life Stem Cell Donor Registry in Florida, it’s a place where you can register to become a stem cell donor. They will send out a swabbing kit for you to swab your mouth and send the kit back. With the swab, they can pair you with an exact match donor. You can literally become a hero by saving the life of another human. This has changed my life, changed how I view the world, and has inspired me to photograph more instances of human kindness. I don’t need to photograph war torn countries, or natural disasters to catch glimpses of history through the lens of my camera. There are glimpses of history passing me by every day that are extreme acts of kindness that could be captured through the lens of a camera. The problem is that there is no money in that for a photographer, it is the sad and honest truth. Disaster sells, pictures of smiling people who are donating stem cells do not sell. That is the world we live in, but I am going to do my best to capture those moments of kindness and happiness for the world to see. People need to know that there are heroes out there besides our brave troops in uniform. There are other heroes out there saving lives everyday, fighting their own wars, and surviving the impossible. If you are touched by the idea of saving the life of another human and would like to make a stem cell donation you can visit https://bonemarrowtransplantregistry.weebly.com/ to learn more about becoming a stem cell donor.