Theresa Whitlock-Wild. Who is she? What is her story? What is ALS and why is it a big part of her path?
As part of a project I am doing to build a portrait magazine to showcase real beautiful women, a mix of ages, sizes, shapes and ethnicities, I photographed Theresa. My passion is to help women see their true beauty and feel better about themselves as I know what a difficult journey that can be for so many women who are often times taking care of everyone around them & forgetting who they are.
I never imagined being so inspired by so many unique stories or learning so much about life & hardships in my mission to serve others (there have been tears, yes, I am one of those women...
A Mother. A Wife. A Student. An ALS advocate. A Writer. A Caretaker.
A Co-Founder to Matt's Place Foundation.
Theresa is the type of women who doesn't stand in the spotlight. I told her so many times how amazing she is, asking if she was finding time to take care of Theresa. She shrugged and continually said, it's all good. She is strong, she is selfless. (Though I know better, she truly deserves a four week vacation in Fiji.)
Three years ago Theresa's 42 year old former U.S. Marine husband, Matt Wild found some devastating news. Matt had #ALS or as some know it as Lou Gehrig's disease. "ALS is a disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord slowly die. Over time, ALS makes it hard to walk, speak, eat, swallow, and breathe." One could never truly understand the effects this has on not only the patient, but the family.
"Matt wanted to be an inspiration for others battling ALS. Soon after his diagnosis, Matt came up with a slogan: “Uncrushable Spirit.” With Theresa they created a non-profit organization called Matt's Place Foundation. This foundation has raised over $250,000 and has helped over 20 local families. Their mission is to help families with the enormous financial burden this disease has on the family and to ensure the patient can live with dignity and comfort in their home.
This foundation built it's first ALS smart home in Coeur d'Alene, ID where the Family lives rent & utility free giving them the peace to live out their last couple years with some peace. The second home is planned in Spokane, WA.
Who is Theresa? She's strong, inspirational, selfless, determined, ambitious and absolutely gorgeous. For one day, I was able to help her relax and feel gorgeous, just one day where she was able to reflect on how truly beautiful she is, inside and out.
Special thanks to the hair & makeup artist who teamed up to pamper Theresa.