People ask me all the time why I wear a green T-Rex-shaped silly band on my right wrist. Since you asked, I got it last August from a 13-year-old boy in Muncie, Indiana…his way of thanking me for giving him a dollar for the vending machine. Small price to pay for what I got in return!
This kid was fighting for his life against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. On that day, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was granting his wish of a shopping spree, and I was there to photograph the day for his family. We trekked all around Muncie, stopping at Kirk’s Bike Shop, Kohl’s, Muncie Mall, Pizza Hut, etc.
What amazed me about this kid was that he never thought about himself throughout the day. This whole experience was setup for him, and yet he kept seeking out ways to extend the wish to his family. Quite the example of selflessness and humility!
It’s been a year since I saw him. Every time I look at the green silly band he gave me, I wonder how he’s doing. I hope he’s still alive, but also know there’s a very real chance he’s not. My silly band helps me not forget. It reminds of the brevity of life. It reminds me that I may have had the privilege of capturing that kid’s last pictures. It reminds me that every photo I get to shoot may potentially be someone’s last captures. Quite sobering.
I’ve always dug the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bookends,” which seem quite apropos…
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.