This past August, my wife Sally and I had the privilege of photographing a very special event.
Just down the street from us here in Flagstaff, Arizona, is an 8-year old boy named A.J., who has spinal muscular atrophy. Being like many other young boys, A.J. likes to get out and explore, but being confined to a motorized wheelchair, there was one place he couldn’t explore…up in the trees. Thanks to a doctor’s recommendation, A.J. was made a candidate for Make-A-Wish, an organization known for granting wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions.
A.J. had one wish and that was for a tree house like those built by Pete Nelson of Nelson Treehouse and Supply on the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters.” Thanks to the hard work of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, A.J. got his wish.
On August 3rd, months of planning came together. We met with the production crew, and staff from Make-A-Wish. We photographed the “behind-the-scenes” action as the production crew filmed the interviews with the Make-A-Wish people, and as they prepared to surprise A.J. and grant him his wish.
We then did our best impersonation of a special ops team as we made our way to A.J.’s home. We didn’t want to tip-off the neighbors and above all else we need to maintain the element of surprise. Sneaking up through his yard, Pete along with the 4 camera teams for the production company took up their positions, with me in tow.
Finally the moment had arrived. Pete went to the front door of A.J.’s family’s home and rang the door bell. At this point I’ll get pretty emotional, but the expression on A.J.’s face when he saw Pete was priceless. I’m going to let the photos do the talking from this point forward.