When Abby’s mom first reached out, little did I know that I would have a miracle coming into my studio and in front of my lens. My first real conversation with Jan came the night before my shoot with Abby. I was sitting in Tampa Intl Airport and we chatted over the phone about the shoot and moreso she gave me Abby’s full story. I was blown away and really could not wait to work with her. What a truly amazing and just inspiring story of hope it is.
By all accounts, Abby’s life seems to be relatively normal. She is 13. She loves to shop. She loves to dance. Her dream is to pursue a career in dance. She does the various intensives along with regular classes. Again, this is pretty “normal” or typical for a young girl this age pursuing dance further. What you don’t know by looking at her, what you can’t tell by watching her is the fact that she is dancing at all is a miracle.
No one in their right mind would ever think that falling off a monkey bar as a 4 year old preschooler, bumping her head and getting knocked unconscious, may have been the best thing that ever happened to someone. But this is exactly what happened to Abby. She fell off the monkey bars at recess, was knocked out and taken to Dayton Children’s where a CT scan showed no concussion but there was something there at the base of her brain.
It was revealed that Abby had a rare malformation, Chiari, which was causing her brain and spine to grow together and causing pressure. It was likely present at birth and is usually not detected on cat scans. So it was truly amazing that the radiology tech actually caught it. Had this still gone undetected, she could have experienced many serious problems such as headaches and coordination issues, just to name a few, but it could have also lead to her being paralyzed. To correct this, Abby had to have brain surgery in 2002 at Dayton Children’s and recovered quickly from it.
Now, years later, she is back in the mix and you would never know anything ever happened. She started her summer at the Rock School and is currently doing an intensive at PNB in Seattle. She has traveled the country dancing, winning awards and loving her life. Come fall, she will be back at the Rock School in Philly and pursuing her dreams of joining a company one day.
Abby was a blast to work with. We worked in the studio and went to Valley Forge Park for some as well. Below are some of the images from our session as well as her video story from CMN! I encourage you all to watch it!!