Friday, February 25, 2011


It's been a while since I last shared an update on my cousin-in-law Xena, formerly known as Megan. Well, I guess officially known as Megan, but ever since she miraculously survived a shipyard accident in which she lost her right leg below the knee she quickly morphed into "Xena". She's not really a "Warrior Princess"...I would definitely say "warrior" but "princess" isn't a fitting description for a woman who can cuss like a longshoreman and probably drink that same fellow under the table...on a weekday. OK, I'm exaggerating (but not by much). When they airlifted Megan to Harborview in November 2009 and because she wasn't able to speak they automatically gave her the identifier of "Doe, Xena". When I found that out, I could not have imagined a more perfect nickname for her.

Ever since the accident, Xena has put herself on the fast track to recovery, pushing herself probably way harder than she should. A workout fanatic, as soon as she could get back into a routine she did, and she paid the consequences too. She would go on 3 mile hikes with her crutches only to come home in excruciating pain. There have been lingering side effects to her severe injury but still she remains upbeat, positive, and LOUD. When Megan is in a room, you knew it before she got there, that is for certain. She is one of the most real and genuine people that I have ever met and her zest for life is unmatched. Her laugh starts as a smirk and then just explodes, enveloping anyone nearby in its blast zone.

As the emergency personnel were on scene trying to stabilize her and save her life, nearby sat one man who had more to lose than anyone, Selves, Megan's boyfriend. He was a crane operator at the shipyard that day and when it came time, he was the one who had to lift the crushing concrete pilings off of Megan. I can not even imagine the emotion that must have been rushing through him. He literally picked Megan up and rescued her. He continued to be by her side every day at Harborview and that never changed. Their love grew deeper and deeper and they decided last summer that they wanted to marry. But what kind of wedding for a woman like Xena and guy like Selves?? I doubt it took them too long to come up with an answer.

Vegas. Or as Megan would say, "Vegas baby, yeah!"

Plans were made and before I knew it my wife Heidi and I were bound for Las Vegas. Megan asked me to pull a trifecta, to be her wedding photographer, her videographer, AND she wanted me to perform the ceremony (and throw a little "Mooselips rap" in there too). I was honored to be asked and that's exactly what happened. We had an absolutely wonderful extended weekend in Vegas. We took photographs out on the Vegas strip on their wedding day then had a nice intimate gathering of close family for the wedding ceremony (only interrupted about 4 times by low flying aircraft!), then enjoyed a delightful reception at Selves' parents house. Selves' mom fed us like it was going to be our last meal for a month...yum. The celebration was truly fitting for two individuals that had already been through so much together but who now are starting a new life together as husband and wife. Their journey will be amazing, it will be real, it will be genuine, and it will definitely be LOUD!


Megan showing off "Shorty" as she calls her right leg these days and one of her new tattoos.

The entire wedding party with downtown "Manhattan" in the background

Friday, February 11, 2011

Supergirl continues to amaze!

Caitlyn Bell (aka: Supergirl) continues to re-write the definition of the word "awesome". I recently visited her and her parents at Ronald McDonald House in Seattle. At that time she had about a week left of daily radiation treatments that she was receiving as a follow up to the major surgery that she had last November. During that epic 10 hour surgery the doctors went in to remove two known cancerous tumors from her abdomen. They instead found and removed 17. Her recovery from that surgery was superhuman (hence her new nickname).

Caitlyn at Ronald McDonald House
Caitlyn with her mom Misti

Caity with a random troubadour
When Caity was just 2 days away from finishing her last radiation treatment, after which she would be able to go home, she developed some complications and wound up spending 3 or 4 more days in the hospital at Seattle Children's. This has been the pattern for her for years, making a few steps forward then having to take a few steps back. Still, she keeps marching on and is making progress. It was during this latest set-back that she decided to fight cancer in another way-- by raising money to help fund cancer research. Instead of looking inward to her own fight, which would be totally understandable, she is looking outward to see how she can help others.

Her plan? She's going to shave her head on March 10th for St. Baldricks fund raising drive! This is a 14 year old girl. Hair is about the #1 accessory for most 14 year old girls and Caity is willing to get rid of it all as long as it can make a difference in the fight against cancer. Her goal was $1,000 and she's just a little short of that at the moment. I'm hoping she can reach her goal and then surpass it.

To find out more about this incredible young lady, please check out this link and perhaps you'll be inspired to sponsor her.