Utah Family Photography....... Tuione Family {CarterStrong}

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This is one of two very, very special shoots I was honored to do. 
My friend Tori text me and asked me to come to Primary Children's Hospital to take some family photos because their sweet 2 month old Son, Carter was not doing too well. 
What do you say to that? I told her I would be right up-
Those of you who know me, know I'm a CRY BABY!!
 I cry over everything. 
I really did try to hold it together, but as soon as I saw Carter, the tears streamed from my eyes. 
To see a precious soul, an infant, slipping away breath by breath, and his family at his side, was not only heart-wrenching, but it was one of the most intimate moments I have witnessed. 
I had no words for my friend and her family. 
Just tears. 

Usually, sessions are filled with emotions of joy. 
Laughter between families. 
Newfound love between engaged couples. 
Overwhelming joy during a birth of a child. 
This was so very different. 
The room was solemn. 
Still. 
But full of so much love. 
Pure love.
The spirit inside the room was something I have only experienced once before in my life. 
The most overwhelming spirit, that you just can't explain.

Two days later, Carter returned home to Heaven, and I have no doubt in my mind, into the arms of our Heavenly Father. 
Such a little person, with the heart of a giant, who was too perfect for this world. As his obituary stated
"His life was a brief gift that will remain a constant reminder of how we should live; courageously enduring the trials of this life."

Thank you Tui'one for having me part of such a precious time. I will forever remember those beautiful moments and live like Carter taught us! 

**On September 27th and 28th, there will be fundraising events to help the Tui'one family with medical expenses, from the 6 weeks Carter spent in the hospital. 
Friday September 27th 8pm will be a concert at the Pikula Arts Center
$10 at the door
Saturday September 28th will be a 5K at Daybreak Lake at 9am {registration begins} walk/run starts at 10am- $15 registration fee for ages 8+

Below is a letter from his Mom and Dad. 
Any donations would be more than appreciated.**
You can make donations HERE!

On the evening of May 22, 2013, we brought a beautiful healthy baby boy named Carter Kauri Terata Tui’one into this world, weighing a hefty 10lbs even. He had an appetite of a toddler, eating every 2 hours  and when milk was not enough, cereal was gradually introduced. He was growing very fast, so fast; we could not tell he was ill.
       On July 5, 2013, we took Carter to an Urgent Care in hopes that someone could explain the rapid growth of Carters head. Although the Doctor at Urgent Care was unable to tell us what was wrong, he advised us to go directly to Primary Children’s Hospital as he too was concerned about the circumference of Carters head. We hurried to the hospital, now scared as to what was wrong with our son. Upon our arrival, we were checked in and were immediately  taken to the back for vitals.
       A CT scan was ordered and thus begun a long and difficult journey for our little family.  Within an hour, the doctor informed us that Carter had Hydrocephalus; excessive fluid in the brain, and needed surgery immediately. Carter was admitted that night and at the tender age of 1 month, Carter underwent his first surgery. A shunt was placed in his head, which ran behind his ear and into his stomach where the excess fluids would be absorbed. We received word from the Neurosurgeon that surgery was successful and that within the next few days we should start to see a dramatic difference in the size of Carters head. But that was not the case with our dear Son.
       Days had passed and Carters head was still the same size. More tests were taken until eventually an MRI was ordered. Results came back tracing blockages in his brain.  Doctors placed an EVD, (External Ventricular Drain) in Carters head to help aid the shunt in its function of draining the fluids. After seeing what looked like progress, they removed the EVD; however, our sons head was not getting any smaller.
       On July 18, 2013, and four surgeries later, a biopsy was ordered after a third MRI confirmed Carter had multiple, aggressive tumors which had started from his spine and now had spread to his brain. We were absolutely devastated, torn and scared of the outcome.  On July 26, 2013 Carter was diagnosed with 2 types of tumors, named Hemangiomatosis and a lower-grade Hemangiopericytoma; very rare, very aggressive and especially uncommon in children (only 4 known cases in USA ; Carter is the first infant).  At this point, we were left with very few options. Surgery was too risky, leaving us with Chemotherapy as the only other option. Although doctors were unsure if Chemo would work, we couldn't live with ourselves if we did not try every possible option, so, we agreed to chemotherapy.
       Carter started his first round of Chemo on July 31, 2013. Doctors told us he would either get better or his condition would start to worsen. After four days from his initial treatment, there was no sign of improvement, alas,  we were losing our son.
       On the night of August 4th, 2013, Carter peacefully took his last breath in our arms. After a month in the hospital, numerous tests and multiple surgeries, the medical bills began to pile up; from anesthesia to MRI and CT scans, surgeries and chemotherapy.  We are struggling to pay for these bills. I, the mother of Carter, am a stay at home mother to our daughter Calia which leaves my family with one income from my husband.
       This letter is a request for donations that will help fund our “Carter Strong” 5K run/walk in honor of our son Carter.  The event will take place on Saturday, September 28th, 2013.  Donations will also aid in paying medical bills accumulated over the month Carter was admitted to the hospital. It is our hope that we can establish a foundation in his behalf, to not only raise awareness, but to help families who are, who have been or who will go through the very same struggles we  are facing financially, mentally and emotionally. 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Victoria, Samuela, Calia and Carter Tui’one
E-Mail: carterstrong22@gmail.com Phone: (801) 834-3071
Donations can be made at any Mountain America Credit Union, under Victoria Tui'one 
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