Well...I'll answer that question for you. Courage looks like a teenage girl named Maia Wright who on Friday March 7, 2014 lost her battle with colon cancer.
I was all set to write a blog post on my experience at WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas and how cool it was to be a speaker and talk about all of the cool people I met and how it was such a boost for my career... but all that can now wait until next week. I was busy in this season making plans for the rest of my life in photography when I received a text that told me that Maia passed away in her sleep. Ironically, I was at a funeral when I received word and I began to weep, not necessarily because I was sad but because of the impact she had on my life in the very short time that I knew her.
February 2013 is when she found out she had colon cancer and because she went to Renaissance High School in Detroit (my alma mater), I really wanted to engage somehow. Found out that Maia had to...
1. Leave school immediately
2. Undergo chemo therapy and blood transfusions consistently and aggressively
3. Finish her education at home while undergoing treatment
4. Mom Jamilah Perkins decided to leave work to take care of Maia full time while also taking care of two small children (Maia's brother and sister :))
(Maia showing her necklace, a bead was added for every procedure she had undergone)
The family had no health insurance to pay mounting medical bills. Also Maia having missed the entire second half of school wanted to go to prom. So following the lead of her childhood friend Walter Brockington who felt motivated to do something for her, we decided to try and send her to prom and help pay some medical bills.
(Maia's High School Senior Photos) Renaissance High, Detroit 2013 Graduate
(Maia, her mom Jamilah and little sister)
(Maia and her family at the benefit concert) She was in high Spirits and stayed that way
(Me and Maia at benefit concert with Marsha Ambrosious) Given by John Cook of Really Living Foundation
(Senior Citizens of Eden Manor, Detroit headed by Alison Black attending event for Maia)
(Eden Manor residents presenting Maia with funds raised for treatment of colon cancer, They prayed for her and encouraged her.)
(Maia telling her story of hope and faith to Stephanie Davis of WWJ950 AM Local News)
(Maia with her classmates from Renaissance High School that organized the rally)
(Maia with her friends and fellow classmates after the rally)
(Maia says Thank you to everyone at the rally for the show of Love)
(Maia, mom and Walter and Tiffany Brockington- the 2 that started the whole movement) (Maia and Renaissance High School Principal)
In the little time I spent talking to Maia and also speaking with her mom and family, I realized that she never complained about her condition. I learned that she prayed more and was more determined to help somebody in life.
My prayer is that I am able to make as much imapct in the rest of my life that Maia made in a little over a year of her 19 year old life. She taught me how to attack life with courage, faith and non complaint. She taught me through her everyday living with a disease that normally attacks elderly people, that life is not necessarily about quantity and length as it is quality and impact.
"THANK YOU MAIA, FOR CHANGING MY LIFE."
We helped send Maia to prom last year, and the family has no idea that I am doing this but I am asking that we also help send her to her final resting place. Maia's family has not asked for anything but I personally know there was no insurance and they are still paying medical bills so whatever you can give would be a blessing :-) Thank you all very much!