“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” Jean De La Bruyere
Let me start from the beginning and please forgive me if what you read here makes you sad. I usually avoid getting emotionally involved at this level, but this story is unusual, unique and has had a profound effect on me for the past year.
I met Fatima for the first time, last year. It was 3 weeks before Christmas and I was photographing the children at my son’s preschool. Straight away Fatima stood out to me; not because of her wheelchair but because of her great happiness. When it was her turn, she smiled, laughed and sang for me. Some of the children before her did not even want to smile but little Fatima was beaming. I became teary eyed as I photographed this beautiful and perfect little girl!
First time when I photographed Fatima was last year, for Preschool.
Time passed but for some reason I couldn’t get Fatima off my mind. I did not know much about her or why she was in the wheelchair but knew I wanted to know more. Some people come into your life and leave a deep impression on your soul, for me that someone was Fatima.
So, this year, in early October, I found out who Fatima’s mom was. I called her and offered her a Christmas Photoshoot with her daughter. I didn’t realize what that really meant for them until we started chatting and I felt the excitement of her mom, Patty Arceo. We had many chats back and forth; about the clothes and décor. I wanted something simple and to take place in their beautiful humble home. Patty bought a Christmas tree… and oh what a tree! It was just perfect for their photos!
Fatima’s story is extraordinary; it’s both happy and sad and just brings tears to my eyes and soul when I think about it. Her story, so far, left me speechless, but it is one that I want to share with you…because I just have to.
On September 29th 2006 a precious child came into this world but with a “birth defect”. Her birth mother simply abandoned her at the hospital where she was born. The entire town was talking about it and hours later, Patty’s friend asked Patty to go and see this baby at the hospital. “What? Me? The sick baby? … No! I don’t think I can do it. No… I don’t want to” but somehow her friend managed to convince her to go. From the moment Patty laid eyes on this baby girl her heart was no longer her own but instead began racing for her daughter, Fatima. She took her home and that was the beginning.
Fatima was born with spinabifida. In her 6 years of life she has already had had ten shunt revisions and five operations to close her back. She is in need of more procedures, in particular a hip operation to enable her to walk, followed by months of therapy.
I asked Patty ”So what is next for Fatima?” and she told me she is saving for additional tests including an MRI of Fatima’s lower back to investigate if corrective surgery may enable her to walk.
As you can imagine all these tests and medical procedures are very costly and many are not even available in Belize. So this is where I am asking you, my fans, if you can help. Does anyone out there know of an organization that could help Fatima? An organization that could give her a chance to continue enjoying life and possibly walk? If you do please get in touch!
Why Fatima is so special to me…
Fatima has an extraordinary personality. I have never seen a child so happy and with such a love of life. During our Christmas photoshoot she was laughing nonstop and dancing in her chair; she was amazing! I cried almost the entire time although I tried to hide it as best I could as I was embarrassed by my weakness.
There are many children in the world who need medical assistance, but Fatima is a special soul. She appreciates and enjoys every second. In all my time as a photographer I have never had such an emotional shoot.
Fatima, you have made me love you more than you can imagine and I hope I’ll be able to make someone else love you, through my photos and your story from my point of view…
I really want to bring awareness to their story and try my best to help. I am therefore planning to offer an open Christmas Photoshoot at Bistro Mestizo Restaurant, San Pedro Town on Saturday December 7 from 7pm. I will charge $25 bz/2 photos, for web display. Anyone can come and have their Christmas portraits taken and all proceeds will go towards Fatima’s medical expenses. For more info about this, please visit my facebook page.
Please feel free to contact me if you can help.
“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” - Ruth Carter Stapleton
Fatima, a miracle child!
Fatima & her mom, Patty Arceo
Fatima loves Patty more than anything in this world and every minute you can hear her “mama… mama”
Christmas 2012, Family Portrait
an innocent child
Fatima, her usual happyness
Fatima love mom, more than anything in this world
Here is when I ask Fatima “what is your biggest wish?’… she closed her eyes, smile and answered soft, more like for herself “to dance…”
Fatima, Patty and their best friend :)
she was so happy to have her dog in the photos…
– Who is Patty Arceo?
- A humble person, who believe in a miracle for her baby
Fatima & her mom, patty Christmas portrait
Fatima loves her little piano
Spirit Christmas around this photoshoot was amazing…
Fatima, a Christmas portrait
OMG, It’s Xmas again!
Fatima, a blessing for this world
her best friend… late nights she is sneaking out from her bed and is going to talk with Kofe and she is telling him “shht, be quiet, we don’t want to wake up mama”…
They are looking forward for many years together
Fatima, a new year is coming with hopes
their happiness was contagious
Fatima, an amazing child
Celebrating life to the fullest!
“we are best team ever!”
Because she can’t walk, she is crawling and dancing like this.
This is Fatima’s story and I hope I’ll see you at the photoshoot.