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April 3, 2011

Meet The Giving Back Winner: Brad Lawson

Back in February I took nominations for a free Giving Back Session and it is with PURE PLEASURE, that I'm able to share some images from the session and the nomination story with you!  Meet Brad Lawson:  a kind, gentle spirited man who is devoted to his family.  In meeting him, I felt an immediate warmth and I was just so honored to meet him and congratulate him on winning the nomination!  Are you wondering who nominated him?  His wife, Brandi.   It takes a strong woman to encourage, support, and keep things going in the midst of  challenging times.  For the session, I wanted to capture Brad and Brandi as she nominated him, but I also wanted to include their adorable daughter, Kaylynn in the session and we certainly didn't want to leave out Bruno, their dog (who I thought was fantastic).  Brad is a man who has truly overcome and as a family they have endured and survived!  I know it's brought them closer and the past year will not soon be forgotten, but I trust that you are inspired as you read Brandi's nomination story below and that you will smile at the strength of this young man! I think you'll agree they are a beautiful family!      

"Eight years ago, began a relationship between my husband and I.  Six and a half years ago came a wonderful bundle of joy we named Kaylynn.  We were young and happy, and very much in love.  Years passed with many amazing memories and milestones of family life.  First steps, teeth, school, graduating college (for me), new careers, new cars, a new home, and finally an engagement in Aug of 2008 (it only took six years!).  We had planned a destination wedding for April 2011 in the Dominican Republic and were ecstatic about traveling for a vacation for the first time as a family, and everyone we loved was coming.

Then, April of 2010, after a couple of years of battling some excruciating pain and many doctors, we found out my soon to be husband, Bradley, had stage four non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Of course, everything happened so quickly after that... There were doctors, biopsies, port inductions, and within two weeks of finding out, an aggressive chemotherapy regimen.  We did our best with our explanation to our daughter, and tried to move forward.  We buried ourselves in the logical aspect, and started making arrangements for our future and Kaylynns.  We discussed things no one would want to ordinarily discuss, but the conversations needed to take place.  We did what we could to get by without breaking down everyday.  Most importantly, Brad treated the situation with his usual obnoxious humor!  He always seemed to have a good spirit about the situation and kept his head held high.  There were five long months of treatment and many P.E.T scans.  All showed amazing improvement!  We had many people praying for Brad!  He is one of the most loyal, good natured, caring, and compassionate people I've ever had the privilege of meeting and is loved by many.

Then, one Saturday, when he was on a break from chemo and we were talking in bed, I decided we shouldn't wait to get married!  At this point in time, we really didn't know what the future was going to hold for us.  And, I realized the cancer shouldn't decide what we could or couldn't do.  Planning started that day, and after eight years together we were married in a wonderful ceremony with all the people we loved six weeks later on Oct. 2.  It was beautiful!

Then came better news only seven weeks later... Brad was done with chemo and officially in remission!!  All the cancer was gone and we were left in awe!  We go back every three months for a while and P.E.T scans often, but without those visits, there is really nothing to remind us about his amazing journey (besides the wedding pictures, where he has no hair!).  On Feb. 11th, he had his port removed and received closure from his long battle.  Most importantly, we are still going to the Dominican in May to celebrate the end of a long trying year, and a horrendous battle most people think will never happen to them.  I guess I was in that boat sailing along also.

I know how I felt and how difficult it was for me with the thought of losing the person I loved, but I wonder how he felt with the thought of losing everyone he loved... Ultimately, the most important thing I've learned in the last year is, regardless of the outcome, a positive attitude will determine how well someone deals with an unfortunate event.  Brad exceeded all measures of optimism and made the situation so much more bearable for all of us.  He is the most amazing person I have ever met...    ~Brandi Lawson"


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