Love for Alyssa
She was 5 years old and melted my heart. Determined to help in some way, I started a non profit on her behalf in January of 2011. Over the course of three years I documented Alyssa Jadyn Hagstrom who was born with a rare condition called Arthrogryposis which left her with no use of her legs and arms and limited use of her fingers. This body of work is a window into her world, her daily struggles, and challenges, but most importantly a glimpse into the amazing spirit she possesses. I believe photography allows people to connect in a way they otherwise could not. A single image can speak magnitudes about what life is like for others.
In January of 2013, with the vision of expanding, we are now Taking Focus, Inc. a 501c3 organization. We hope our organization will help people connect; to be inspired by the idea of what an impact we can make on someone else's life.
Our organization is based on documentary photography, with a goal of creating a "movement". With a society teetering on the edge with many different difficult hardships, I feel we are really facing a time of much needed reflection. This is an opportunity for those of us to share our talent for a greater good; an opportunity to open the minds of our neighbors to stop, think and care a little bit more about one another. We now are able to allow other photographers who have work that they are passionate about, to raise funds to enable them to do their project and inturn their work is able to raise awarness and be able to raise money for their cause under our umbrella.
Through my determination I raised funds to form an exhibition of 20 large scale images of Alyssa. These images were first shown in May of 2012. This exhibition in turn raised funds for Alyssa and another child with Arthrogryposis.
In December 2010 I was able to have a wheelchair accessible van donated to the Hagstrom family courtesy of another non profit. A few fundraisers were formed thanks to people in the community who reached out due to the exposure of the work.
Also, thanks to the exposure in June of 2012 on CNN's photo blog, CNN In America, and CNN Health, many donations were made.
LFA is a 2012 Critical Mass winner and a 2012 finalist for the Michael P. Smith Fund.