Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gentrie Hansen




After throwing up for the 6th time that day, she starts pulling back the quilt on her bed in a pink room with the posters you'd expect of a 14 year old American girl. She asks her grandmother to scratch her back while she lays down. After a few minutes her breaths become heavy and she has fallen asleep. I sit in the living room and send a few photos and wait for her to wake up. When she does I sit on a bright pink plastic chair at her desk covered with scrapbooking scraps and talk with her while she wakes up. All smiles and ready to explain in complex medical terms what is going on with her, I don't think I've ever met a more charming and sweet kid in my life. Her stomach is paralyzed (Gastro Paresis) and she is stuck at home, tethered to a bag with an expensive concentrated milk like fluid of nutrients that feeds into her through a tube in her chest. She is unable to eat and the family tenderly sneaks food into the basement for their meals and goes to great lengths to keep the smell of food out of the house. We make our way into the living room and with a guilty mischevious smile she turns on the food network. Giadi DeLaurentis is making something delectable and Gentrie shows me the key she has around her neck; her "wish" from the Make A Wish Foundation. "I want to go to Paris and go to culinary school. I had a dream one night that I was poaching eggs, and I woke up the next morning and asked my mom if that was even a real thing...I think that would be so wonderful." She has a very warm sense of humor but the fatigue gives off a false sense of being overly pragmatic about the difficulties of her typical day. Traces of the young hopeful girl surface when she talks with her father about when she can get to Ohio. Ohio is where the closest hospital is where she can get the operation she needs. A fundraiser will be held in the form of a garage sale this Saturday. For more information about Gentrie and to read the article from today's paper click HERE.

3 comments:

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Lin said...

Okay, so I'm not spam, first of all.

I love your blog, Mike. I love the photography and the stories you tell.

I have a daughter this girl's age and my heart breaks for her and her family. I truly hope that she gets the treatment and can begin to live again. I cannot imagine how her parents are feeling watching this. Damn insurance companies.