|Last Thursday I was truly blessed and privileged to photograph the Oxfords. While I really do enjoy all my clients, this family is particularly special and meaningful to me... and they need your help. After reading about what this family is going through, if you're so inclined, please take a moment to say a prayer for this family and for complete healing for precious little Nate for God's word says in Matthew 18:19, "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven."
Wes and Jackie have three handsome little boys - 8 yr old Jake, 5 yr old Luke and 3yr old Nate. Last December Wes and Jackie learned news that no parent ever wants to hear. To summarize their story, here's an excerpt of their Journey from The Rockwall News:
Last December three-year-old Nate Oxford of Fate suddenly began throwing up each morning. Thinking it was caused by a sinus condition, his parents – local insurance agent Wes and Jackie Oxford – took him to his pediatrician, who recommended they immediately take him to the hospital. An MRI revealed that little Nate had tumors at the front and back of his head, plus they were spreading down his small spine.
Doctors operated two days later to remove as much of one tumor as they could, but had to wait to start Chemotherapy until the small boy could recover from the surgery. In the meantime, the aggressive cancer spread rapidly, preventing Nate from speaking and walking. Now, thanks to a unique trial cocktail of chemotherapy drugs which only 13 other children across the nation are also receiving, the little boy is learning to walk and talk again, with the help of therapists and family members.
Nate has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Only about 500 cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, with a small percentage affecting children under 3 years old.
He continues to undergo extremely expensive clinical trials under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Bowers, a pediatric oncologist on staff at Children’s Medical Center, who said he is encouraged by the boy’s response to treatments.
Nate’s chemotherapy will continue for at least a year and he will have to undergo numerous forms of rehabilitation, including physical and speech therapy.
Since the news about Nate’s condition started spreading, family, friends and even many strangers have stepped in to offer an outpouring of support and prayers for Nate.
“We have received such an outpouring of love and support from the community, from so many individuals and churches, it is unbelievable,” said Nate’s grandmother, Lana Carlisle of Emory. “We feel so grateful to everyone.”
“He’d originally only been given a short time by the doctors to be with us, so we feel so blessed for every single day we can spend with little Nate. Now we’re praying for a miracle, because miracles do happen when you have faith and put your trust in God.”
At the beginning of this year, the Oxfords were nominated by a friend of the family for the "Giving Is Awesome" effort that thousands of of photographers around the world participated in to give the gift of custom photography to a deserving family. After reading about what they were going through and with the help of a mutual friend, I got in touch with Jackie to let her know I wanted to extend this gift to their family. She was so gracious, and we set out to work on a date for our session. Unfortunately little Nate had to go through some pretty rough stuff for a while that left him very weak, but Jackie called a couple weeks ago to say that Nate was back at home for a while and feeling stronger, so we got together last week to create a few images of the boys.
We had so much fun, and the boys were fantastic, each one of them with their unique personalities. We were able to go out to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve where God smiled on us with a relatively bearable temperature that evening while the boys were able to just relax, play, and, well, be boys.
Nate has such piercing blue eyes that tell the story of his gentle soul. And while he may be gentle, make no mistake that he is also a fighter. On the inside he is still the playful, energetic boy he was before last December, and he's working hard for his body and mind to catch up and grow stronger and more healthy than before.
L A T E S T U P D A T E
While I don't have any details or know the whole story yet, I did receive a news of a setback with Nate today. Apparently he was unresponsive and would not wake up from sleep earlier today, so Wes and Jackie took Nate back into the hospital where Dr's have confirmed that the cancer has returned in a larger form that is causing Nate's response. They are discussing what to do and how to treat from here. Later in the day Nate woke up out of his sleep and was able to answer questions with full sentences. They are doing another MRI to confirm or disprove what the CAT scan found earlier in the day. Please keep the Oxfords in you rprayers at this time. Also, please visit http://www.prayfornateoxford.com to read more about Nate's story and how you can help.
Here are a few images from our session followed by a link to a slideshow at the end of this post.