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VICTIM & SURVIVOR = Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving - testimonial from a survivor - Love Capture Give session by www.tressavent.com

Did you know that on average, 2 out of 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime?  In 2012 alone, 10,322 people died in drunk driving crashes – that’s one person every 51 minutes.  However, in the United States, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since Mothers Against Drunk Driving {MADD} was founded in 1980. To date, MADD’s work has saved 300,000 lives…and counting.

I recently had the honor of attending a Walk Like MADD kick-off event at their corporate headquarters to learn more about their upcoming walk in Dallas and hear Jonathan’s story of how drunk driving changed his life forever. Read Jonathan’s story, see his video & view more images from this event…
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Drunk Driving, MADD, Survivor

Strength is… = TEAM LIAM

Love Capture Give Session with Team Liam by www.tressavent.com

He’s strong.  He’s brave.  He’s Liam and this is his story… Liam was diagnosed with a tumor in his medulla when he was just 10 months old.  It was discovered incidentally due to a mis-measurement at his pediatrician’s office, where his head appeared to have grown too fast.  He also had, what we know now, was a simple lazy eye.  The combination of the head growth and lazy eye lead us to our first MRI and the discovery of his brain tumor on May 20, 2013.  Be inspired.  See Liam’s video & more images…  Read the rest of this entry »

Children, Tumor

Heart Warriors = IT’S MY HEART

It's My Heart Love Capture Give Session by www.tressavent.com

Although all of their stories are different, they all have one thing in common.  They all live with Congenital Heart Defects {CHD} and we don’t call them Heart Warriors for nothing.  Each of them has had at least one open heart surgery with many of them having two or three, not to mention countless other surgeries and ongoing treatments to help keep them healthy.  You would never know by simply looking at them… they are all strong, beautiful and brave.  I was so touched by all of their stories and I know you will be too.  Be inspired & see more images…  Read the rest of this entry »

Children, Chronic Illness, Heart

Flops Fighting Cancer = HARI MARI

Hari Mari Flop Drop at Cook Children's Medical Center in Ft Worth by www.tressavent.com

Hari Mari is passionate about giving back and making flip flops that look as good as they feel, both on your feet and in your heart.  $3 of every pair purchased help kids battling cancer secure treatments vital to their recovery.   Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer, Children

Princess Heart Warrior = MAKE-A-WISH & IT’S MY HEART

Love Capture Give Princess Session for It's My Heart & Make a Wish by www.tressavent.com

If the glass slipper fits… wear it.  And this brave little princess does it well.  Shelby lives with multiple Congenital Heart Defects but you would never know by looking at her.  This beautiful 5 year old heart warrior is full of joy and enthusiasm, especially when it comes to princesses and Disney.  Her smile is contagious and you can’t help but have a good time when you’re around her.  Shelby is truly an inspiration and doesn’t let anything slow her down.  This is her story… see more images…   Read the rest of this entry »

Children, Chronic Illness, Heart

International Adoption = A BEARD FOR A BABY

Adoption Story, A Beard for A Baby - Images by www.tressavent.com

Like beards?  And babies?  Well then, meet Courtney & DJ… this is their story of international adoption and how they are creatively raising funds through their beard-a-thon, A Beard for A Baby.    Read the rest of this entry »

Adoption, Children

STRIKEoutDiabetes = JDRF

How The Barnes Family is helping STRIKEoutDiabetes

This is The Barnes Family and they are on a very important mission to STRIKEoutDiabetes!  Chris and Lynda Barnes are championship professional bowlers and parents of twin boys Ryan and Troy.  In 2008, Troy was suddenly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas (warning signs of T1D).  When the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.  There is no cure for T1D.   Read the rest of this entry »

Autoimmune Disease, Chronic Illness, Diabetes, T1 Diabetes

A Place For Change = CENIKOR

Cenikor a place for change

Meet Myles… this is his story of addiction, recovery and how the Cenikor Foundation has helped him make positive change in his life.

Cenikor is one of the oldest and most successful substance abuse treatment centers in the nation with services throughout Texas and Louisiana.  Since 1967, Cenikor has expanded to assist more than 1,000 people a week achieve better health and better lives.  They are committed to helping people deal with behavioral health issues and addictions by providing a full continuum of care through a variety of programs including short-term and long-term inpatient programs, detoxification, outpatient and intensive outpatient services.  Cenikor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to assisting people in developing the skills needed to become responsible citizens free of substance abuse. Read the rest of this entry »

Addiction Recovery, Therapy

T1D Superheroes for a Cure = JDRF

Meet Nate and Elise… T1D Superheroes for a CURE.  These sweet little ones live with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and were both diagnosed at a very young age (Nate at 14 months, Elise at 12 months).  Every 36 minutes a child in the United States is diagnosed with T1D.  Often developing in children, adolescents, and young adults, it’s sometimes called “juvenile diabetes.”  The warning signs of type 1 diabetes include extreme thirst; frequent urination; drowsiness or lethargy; sugar in urine; sudden vision changes; increased appetite; sudden weight loss; fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath; heavy, labored breathing; stupor; and unconsciousness.  There is no cure for T1D.  

T1D occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas. When the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.

For this reason, people with T1D must take insulin in order to stay alive.  This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered through an insulin pump.  You will notice on the back of Elise and Nates’s arm there is a white egg shaped device attached to them.  They both wear an OmniPod, a tubeless insulin pump.  Although the use of an insulin pump does eliminate multiple injections daily, it does have to be changed out on a regular basis (every 3 days for the OmniPod).  It works like getting an IV, a cannula is inserted so that insulin delivery can take place.  So while many users benefit from such devices, they are NOT a cure and still require careful monitoring and management.

T1D also requires Nate and Elise to test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day.    They must carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to help regulate their blood sugar levels, in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, which can be life threatening.  For example, at our session, Elise tested her blood sugar and it was 113.  Since that was a good number for her, she did not have to make any corrections at that time.  Nate then tested his blood sugar and it was 71, which is slightly low for him so he then treated with a glucose Quick Stick to help bring his blood sugar up.  If either of their blood sugar levels had been high, they would have had to administer a calculated dose of insulin through their OmniPod to help bring their blood sugar level down.  When you have T1D, you are always calculating – carbs, correction factors, insulin to carb ratios and the list goes on.  Many times those living with T1D find that even though they strive for tight blood sugar control and follow their meal plan and insulin schedule, they still experience rapid fluctuations in their blood glucose.  It’s important to note that those fluctuations do not mean the person with diabetes has done anything wrong.  Many factors, including stress, hormone changes, periods of growth, and illness can easily cause blood sugar to swing out of control making T1D very difficult to manage.

I encourage you to read Nate’s and Elise’s diagnosis stories and be ready with some tissues.  Every. single. time. I read them, I can’t help but cry.  These T1D Superheroes and their families fight 24/7/365 against a disease that is very unpredictable and requires constant and careful management (see what a typical day for Elise looks like).  They also continue to have hope for a cure in their lifetime and are dedicated JDRF volunteers bringing awareness to T1D through their blogs (Nate’s Mom, Elise’s Mom) and raising significant funds through the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on T1D research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF is to improve the lives of every person affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing the disease.  JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered.  Learn more by visiting www.jdrf.org.

Did you know that diabetes kills more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined in the United States.  So, if you know someone who fights this battle, encourage them.  They are in a fight for their health and life.

Get Involved.  There are countless ways to get involved in helping JDRF advance its goals.  From participating in fundraising events, making a donation, or volunteering, there are a variety of options to suit your needs and interests.  Please get in touch with your local chapter or international affiliate, and if you live in Dallas, TX or surrounding areas, please be sure and check out the JDRF Greater Dallas Chapter.  And don’t forget to use the “sharing is caring” feature below to help bring awareness to Nate & Elise’s story and this great organization.

Many kind thanks to Superkid Capes who generously donated the custom T1D cape sets for this very special session.  Brooke has such a big heart and was really great to work with!  Superkid Capes is offering a special coupon code for T1D families!!!  Just enter T1DAWARENESS at checkout and you will receive 10% off your purchase (excluding party cape sets).  You can visit her store at www.superkidcapesstore.com.

And very special thanks to Nate, Elise and their families for sharing their story and to all of the supporters who have made these Love Capture Give ® sessions possible by purchasing sessions through Tressavent Photography.

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Autoimmune Disease, Children, Chronic Illness, T1 Diabetes

Therapy with Hank & Trip = CINDY LONG & MANEGAIT

Life is a journey of unexpected twists and turns.  Some of those twists of fate lead us on interesting paths to regain health and independence.  Cindy Long, a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Hank – her six-year-old Quarter Horse gelding – and his full brother, Trip, have formed a team to provide opportunities for those on the unexpected journey to experience that spiritual connection to the inner self that comes from relating to a horse.  They work with patients at a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center in Texas and with children and adults with disabilities at ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship in McKinney, TX offering Occupational, Speech, Physical and Cognitive Therapy.

During this session, Hank and Trip demonstrated exercises such as the “yo-yo game” (walking back and forth), “sideways game” (stepping side to side) and “hide the hiney” (bending the rear end one side to the other) with the participants from ManeGait who are dealing with different impairments due to brain injuries.  All of these games are played without the participants touching the horse, but through a series of simple movement commands.  In addition, Hank & Trip are also trained to work with verbal commands from speech participants.  ”Shhh” will get them to back up, a kissing sound tells them to step forward, a tongue-click tells the horses to step sideways, and the traditional “whoa” means to stop.  Cindy has also taught the horses to stop immediately when the patient stops and to back up when the patient backs up.  They will do this whether the patient is standing, in a manual wheel chair or in a power chair.  To help the patients work on their fine motor skills, Cindy utilizes the halters by tying and untying the halter, hooking and unhooking the lead rope and by buckling and unbuckling all the various buckles on her saddle.  You will also see an image where the patient utilized the saddle to pull himself up out of his wheelchair to stand on his own.

It was impressive and inspirational to see the two participants going through each part of the session accomplishing the different exercises.  There were many tender moments shared as well.  Hank and Trip have a miraculous gift of communication and empathy that is truly amazing to witness.  The way they first greeted the participants and how they tenderly nuzzled them throughout the session brought huge smiles to everyone.  It was a wonderful experience to see Hank and Trip connecting with the participants in such a special way.

Hank and Trip’s initial training for therapy work required 18 to 20 hours a week for approximately six months.  Today, in addition to working directly with clients twice a week, they receive an additional five hours of training each week at Cindy’s Blue Ridge farm.

Hank and Trip have had stories published about them, including this session, which was featured in the August 2012 issue of Perelli Natural Horsemanship Savvy Times™.  Cindy is also planning on publishing a series of children’s books later this year called The Adventures of Hank and Trip.  Hank is a very mischievous Left-Brain Introvert and is always getting into something, so he provides lots of topics for the books.  Him and Trip have great personalities and love to “horse” around (hehehe), just check out the image of them playing with the orange cone.  :)

At ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship, children and adults with disabilities will move beyond their boundaries through the healing power of horses and the dedication of a professional, caring community.   They are a dynamic non-profit delivering the best in therapeutic equestrian activities and therapy in a caring, high-integrity environment located on a beautiful, rolling 14 acre site in Collin County.  Learn more by visiting www.manegait.org.

Get Involved.  Getting involved at ManeGait is a great way to give back to the North Texas community. Learn more about their fundraising eventsvolunteer opportunities or check out their wish list to see the items they need to better serve children and adults with disabilities.  Your donation of time, money, or in-kind gifts will directly benefit those who need it most.  Learn more by clicking HERE and don’t forget to use the “sharing is caring” feature below to help bring awareness to this story and great organization.

Special thanks to all of the supporters who have made these Love Capture Give ® sessions possible by purchasing sessions through Tressavent Photography.  Every photograph has a story.  Love Capture Give ® helps charities bring awareness to that story and how they have helped those in their time of need.

ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship | Facebook | Contact

Tressavent Photography | Facebook | Contact

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Animals, Disabilities, Therapy