Michelle Gifford with Michelle Gifford Photography started an amazing project! She wanted to recognize women who are truly beautiful. She asked 50 photographers in the state of Utah to be apart of the Beauty Revived campaign. Beauty Revived is beauty being measured by courage and is dedicated to uplift, inspire and empower others to shed light on the true meaning of beauty. It has been so fun to read all of these stories, there are so many amazing women who are never recognized.
I had the honor of photographing Abbey, she is such an inspiration! I photographed her sisters wedding a year and a half ago and during our photo shoots her sister Alyssa told me all about her story and I was so amazed by this young girls spirit and endurance. Abbey almost didn’t get released out of the hospital to come to the wedding. It was a miracle that she made it, and it was so touching to watch her interact with her family.
We had a fun day getting Abbey primped for her photo shoot, Taylor Wood did an amazing job with her hair and make up. We went up to Tony’s Grove in Logan Canyon and were so lucky to be surrounded by some beautiful wildflowers, it was the perfect setting!
Here is Abbey’s story from her Mother:
ORGAN DONATION SAVES LIVES!
Just after Thanksgiving in 2012 Abbey became ill from a suspected urinary tract infection and was treated with an antibiotic. Instead of starting to feel better she began throwing up, and in the early morning hours of Sunday November 25, her skin and the whites of her eyes turned jaundice yellow. We immediately called her pediatrician and an allergic reaction to the antibiotic was suspected. She became increasingly weak so we quickly took her to the hospital. After an initial assessment, Abbey fainted and the situation was becoming more critical with no answers. She was transported by Life Flight to Primary Children’s Medical Center. We seemed to be moving in a fog of disbelief at what was unfolding before us. Our beautiful, carefree 11 year old daughter was being surrounded with doctors and nurses ordering more tests and adding more IV’s and giving us no answers.
Later that evening we met with Dr. Jensen and I still remember he had asked if I wanted to sit down and I said no. He said your daughter needs a liver transplant to live! My knees buckled and I sat down in the offered chair. The diagnosis was Wilson’s disease. This is a genetic disease where copper builds up in your body. The copper had built up in her liver and had caused liver failure and her kidneys were also shutting down. We met with a social worker and completed the lengthy forms to be added to the donor registry. We were told because of the severity of her situation she would go right to the top of the list. The next days we just waited in the ICU as she increasingly became weaker and less cognizant of those around her. We never left her side, we would talk, sing and read to her. She loved the music therapy and they would play and sing her favorite Taylor Swift songs to her.
Abbey was blessed with the gift of life on Thursday November 29 after a nine hour surgery and we heard the wonderful words from the surgeon that her new liver was beautiful! My friend had told me how touching it was to see Abbey’s fifth grade friends siting on the bleachers during lunch because they were fasting for her. Abbey was prepared for this test and endured, and we were released a few weeks later to the Ronald McDonald house and even able to spend Christmas at home.
In January Abbey began showing evidence of internal bleeding but the source was not easy to determine so she was hospitalized two more times for more MRI’s, cat scans, ultrasounds, and biopsies. The news we received would shatter us to our very core. She would require another surgery, she had an aneurysm on her hepatic artery. How do you tell your daughter that the staples and drains that had just been removed, the healing that had taken place would have to be started all over again? The air was thick with worry and increased as the surgeon said he had only performed this type of surgery once before. We were devastated and our hearts were heavy and our tears flowed freely as I climbed in bed with Abbey to hold her as we gave her the news. The surgery was 7 hours long and the surgeon exclaimed that was his best surgery ever!
There have been ups and downs since then, but Abbey has always looked to the future when she would be able to return to school, playing with her friends, swimming, volleyball and just being a kid. There was never a doubt in her mind that she would be able to get through this and live her life to the fullest. Her inner beauty has shown through in her determination, patience, endurance and zest for life. We would be very ungrateful if we did not thank our donor family for the beautiful gift they generously gave to our daughter, Abbey. Please sign up to be a donor.