CARLSBAD — In honor of her dear friend who died nearly one year ago, local photographer Jamie Hickman is offering free photo sessions to terminally ill people and their families.
Hickman’s friend, Jackie Napier, died last year on March 15 after fighting a long and hard battle with cystic fibrosis, an inherited chronic disease. Napier was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6-weeks-old, and was not supposed to live into her adult years. But with the love and determination of her family and doctors and many experimental treatments, she lived 27 fulfilling years.
Two days before Napier died, Hickman suggested they do a photo shoot. Napier was sitting in her mom’s bedroom and was down to weighing only 80 pounds. She had tubes coming out of nearly every part of her body, including IVs, an oxygen mask and a feeding tube.
“I said ‘you have to document this because no one should ever have to live like this, there needs to be a cure,’” Hickman recalled.
Napier’s mom, Carlsbad resident Mary Varrichio, said her daughter had accepted the fact that she was dying, and the pictures gave them both something they really needed.
“When I look at Jackie in the pictures she is so emaciated, so I understand her pain, I accept that she had to go, but it encapsulates the love that we shared,” Varrichio said. “I said ‘if you survive you have a record of your battle and you can look back and see how victorious you were, and if you don’t, your family will have a record of it.’”
Hickman, owner of Vista-based Emotions Photography, said she is offering free photo sessions to terminally ill people and their families because she wants to make sure families like Napier’s have beautiful photos to remember their loved ones by.
“You don’t know how much a photo is worth until the person you love is gone. When all you have left to look at is a picture, you want to make sure you have several because there are never enough when someone is gone,” Hickman said.
The free gift Hickman is offering is valued at more than $250. There is no time limit on her offer; and because most people who are terminally ill are too sick to come to her studio, Hickman will drive to them.
Hickman plans to use the photos she took of Napier to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis in the hopes that it will eventually lead to a cure being found.
“No one should have to hurt like she did,” Hickman said. “She was an amazing girl. Her laugh was contagious and her eyes were bright. She loved her friends. She loved her family. She was all around a good person.”
“I will never stop fighting for a cure for cystic fibrosis,” Hickman added.
To take Hickman up on her offer, call (760) 586-6474 or visit EmotionsCaptured.com. For more information about cystic fibrosis or to donate money toward research for a cure, visit cff.org.