This is post is going to be among the most heartfelt posts I have ever written for anyone to read. I think it is important to be honest with people, and wear your heart on your sleeve.
Every so often in life someone will come into your life and completely open your eyes and change your mindset on life itself. What may have been a chance encounter or a deliberate meeting. The important thing is that you take notice of these moments and do something about them. For me one of those moments was a deliberate networking move. Many people know that I have been a music journalist for the last several years, and along with that I have been a concert photographer. I have attended Warped Tour on a number of occasions and have always tried to shake hands with the right people, get my name out there and prove my work. One year I was given the opportunity to work with someone who I now consider a very dear friend, in 2010 I had put in to help work at the Jac Vanek clothing tent. I was selected to do so and with that I got to meet and work with both Jac Vanek and Nicole Buckley. That first day I worked with them for 4 or 5 hours helping to cover the tent, talking with them, and helping break down at the end of the day and load up the trailer. At the time I don't think I really understood what this was doing for me, I knew I was trying to network and gain insight but I didn't realize that I would be talking to someone that had so many similar interests and such a kind soul.
Nicole and I had exchanged numbers and talked about me helping out again, and sure enough that same year I ended up driving to Cincinnati to help out, which ended up being a really good experience for me(not so much for Nicole), the night before the Cincinnati date Nicole scratched her eye fairly bad and had to go to the eye doctor and couldn't be at the tent due to her injury, and Jac had a lot of stuff going on that day with press and other things that were keeping her from putting all her time at the tent. I was lucky enough to be at the tent the whole day and work in the industry that I absolutely love.
I continued to work at least 2 or 3 Warped Tour dates with her in 2011 and 2012. And I didn't realize at the time how much of an impact she had on my development as a journalist, a photographer, as a human being. During the Cincinnati date in 2012 her and I decided we were going to go off site for lunch and it was in that car ride when we both started talking about our desires, what we really wanted to do, how unhappy we really were with certain things in our lives at that point. And I know for me at least, and hopefully for her too, that conversation in my car changed everything for me. I decided right then that I would pursue photography. I still remember one of the things she said to me in the car when I was telling her about some of the stuff that I had planned on doing, starting You Make The Scene and my own photography business, and that was "If it makes you happy then why wouldn't you do it?".
A couple of weeks later I made the trip to Chicago to work with Nicole again. This was when I met Patrick. Patrick is one of the most down to earth and strongest people I have met. It was clear while he was there that he was in pain and uncomfortable but he didn't let it affect his mood. He and I talked a little about a variety of things, typical guy stuff, sports and music mostly but we also talked a little bit about Cystic Fibrosis. I'll admit I had never really heard about it before and had no idea the magnitude of it. Through talking with Patrick that day I learned a lot.
Patrick is 27 years old and has been in and out of hospitals more than most people drive by one. He is currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant and as you can imagine it is a very expensive operation, and combine that with the frequent hospital visits to fight chronic lung infections the price tag is near the average yearly income of a household in the United States.
In an attempt to help fundraise some of the money to offset the costs to Nicole and Patrick I will be doing special edition prints that will feature a CF Awareness ribbon and small photo of Patrick on the print, those can be found here. All of the profits from these prints will go directly to Patrick and Nicole for their medical bills. If you would like to donate directly to their cause you can do so here, and you can also keep up to date with Patrick's journey by liking the 4 CF With Love page on Facebook.
Thank you all for your support.
PS- Nicole and Patrick, I love you guys and miss you. Nicole thank you for the conversations that we have had and helping me to realize I needed to pursue the things that make me happy.