"Transformational Beauty" "Maternity" "Newborn" "Children" "FineArt" Photography

Show Thanks, Give Hope – Los Angeles Portrait Photographer

Hi all!  This is my first post after our vacation.

I could be sharing tons of beautiful images from the trip.  In fact, I just finished making a 2013 calendar with a few “hand-picked” images.  However, the day before Thanksgiving, I would like to share a story.

We were in Big Sur, California (yes, it’s kind of out-of-character for us to stay in the US for vacation, and I will explain in a separate post, if you really want to know why).  I’ve learned about the Bixby Bridge and seen it in images and videos.  In fact, it’s one of the videos with Bixby Bridge basking in the golden sunset that raised my interest in traveling the area.

As we drove along the coast, the photographer in me was looking for various angles to present “the bridge”, making stops constantly.  When we pulled into this one vista area, a colorfully decorated van caught my eyes – oh yeah, I’m a person of colors and my eyes get attracted by them.  First a cheerful lady, then the wheel chair and a gentleman rolled out of the car door.

The curious cat in me would not let me pass the opportunity to learn their stories.  So, it starts with someting like “You must be Steve…”.  Turns out Steve has been diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.  The couple was from Georgia and traveling the West.  They’d been on the road for a week or so and was planning on getting back home for Thanksgiving.

Knowing the devastating impact of ALS on the patients and their loved ones, I was touched by the cheerfulness of the couple and offered to take a picture for them.  I wanted them to have a document of this memory at a beautiful place that they’ve spent time together.  At that moment, I knew I wanted to write about them and proceeded to get permission to take a photograph of them with my camera.

As I gave instructions to the location and the angle, the wheel chair that Steve was in (and operated by him) was moving faster than I could catch up with.  Impressive agility, Steve! 🙂

They are the perfect models for my photography!  The couple was grinning from ear to ear and did not need any instructions for smiling.  🙂
©Jean (Jiaying) Huang
We then purchased shirts from them to help raise awareness to ALS.  So the next time you see me sport a pink t-shirt with big beard on it (neither pink, nor beard is my thing under normal circumstances :-)), you’ll know it’s Steve on the shirt.

Before heading on with our trip, I had to ask the lady’s name.  You know what, her name is Hope.  Hope for Steve, what a good match!

Now, here’s my ask for all my good-hearted friends out there.  I know you’ve saved up for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Maybe a small portion can go to help Hope and Steve?  Maybe as you are sitting around dinner table with your loved ones tomorrow, you could share this post/their story and encourage them to help out as well?  On a day that we count our blessings, giving to others will complete the circle.

A little more tid bits about Hope and Steve (click here to learn more of their stories):
– Hope and Steve got married after Steve was diagnosed with ALS.
– Hope recently quit her job since leaving Steve at home to take care of himself when she had to travel for work was too painful for her.
– One admirable quality of the couple – they do not let the difficulties in life stop them from living their lives.

So, please, give hope this Thanksgiving by clicking on this van below:

©Jean (Jiaying) Huang 


5 responses

  1. Traveler 1

    What a love story! Hope for Steve!


    November 21, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    • Thank you, Traveler 1! 🙂


      November 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

  2. Donna McCullough

    I am Hope’s mom from PA and she told me she met up with you. What a blessing your post is. Thank you so much and I pray for a blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family!


    November 21, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    • Hi Donna,

      So nice to meet you online! Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I’m glad that we had a chance to meet and to learn the stories of Hope and Steve. Their strength in dealing with difficulties in life inspire us to focus on what’s important and carry on with life no matter what’s thrown our way.

      Donna, I hope you and your family have a nice Thanksgiving as well! Are you in PA or GA right now?



      November 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      • Donna :-D

        I am in PA. I won’t be able to see them until Christmas. It is very hard at times that I can’t be there to help Hope but we talk everyday. Awareness was one of the main reasons for their adventure and they have met some wonderful people along the way.
        Happy Thanksgiving! We truly do have a lot to be thankful for!
        Donna 😀


        November 22, 2012 at 4:41 AM

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