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Carolyn and David at the 76ers

Discussion in 'Photojournalism, Candids and Street Photography' started by DAVE VAN, Apr 2, 2005.



    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    Last night we all went to see the Sixers play the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately Allan Iverson was the only Sixer who showed up to play :( 
    In spite of the loss, we all had a great time. David is really enjoying his time now being like an average kid. I know that there are some of you who have gotten to know David through my posts on DPR. For the rest of you let me introduce David,
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    David is now 8 years old. He has a 5 year old sister Carolyn, and a 19 year old sister, Katie. David was born with a Cleft Pallet, a hole in his heart and a condition known as "Bi-Lateral Radial Club Hands with Absent Thumbs"
    What this means is we all have two bones in our forearm that support our wrist and hands, the Radius and Ulna. The Ulna is the larger bone that is on the same side as your thumb. David was born without the Ulna and also without thumbs. Because he was lacking the support normally provided by both bones, his hands turned at right angles to his forearm. Until the last couple of years, the long term prognosis of these children wasn't very good. None of the tried and true methods of correcting the hand to straighten it, worked more than a year at best. Also for an unknown reason, the bone that is in the forearm, grows about half the length that it should or not at all. This causes many problems to the child such as feeding, dressing or even being able to go to the bathroom independently. This is very hard on the child's self-esteem and doesn't paint a good picture for the child ever being independent. My wife and I met with probably 20 different surgeons on the East Coast looking for a treatment for David that might work. All of them painted a bleak picture. Some said to leave him as he was, and a couple even recommended amputation of his hands and forearm's and to fit him with prosthetics. We happened to be watching 20-20 one night and saw a segment on a Dr. in Baltimore who was doing some very radical treatments on children with some major Limb issues. We called him and he actually spent 2 hours talking to us on the phone. He said that he could help David. He outlined a series of operations that will take place until David is well into his teens. So far David has had over 30 different surgeries done. Among these was the repair of his cleft pallet. The making of "thumbs" for him, which was accomplished by removing his index fingers, shortening them and relocating them in the position his thumbs would have been in. He has had both his hands straightened by a new and somewhat controversial procedure. And last year he underwent a procedure to lengthen his arms over an eight month period, which involved breaking both arms and attaching an exterior metal framework, which was attached with screws and pins into his arm. Lengthening was accomplished by turning adjusting screws 6 times daily to constantly move the ends of the break apart and allowing new bone to fill in the space. David gained almost 3" of new bone in each arm :) 
    David is now able to feed himself and do most bathroom needs by himself with minimal assistance. He is my miracle boy. He has a zest for life that is truly contagious. He has been attending a small private school for the last year and at a recent meeting when it was discussed that David might not be able to attend anymore, a few of his teachers started crying saying that they loved him and wouldn't want to see him go. They said that he has touched the entire school and was a good influence on the rest of the students. I'm sorry for rambling on, here are a few more shots of David and Carolyn from the end of last nights Sixers game. David and a few other kids were allowed to go on the court and shoot baskets. :D 
    David even got to call a game on the PA system at the Wachovia Center :D 

    Here's David taking a shot. (He actually got 5 in a row in :D  ) His sister is next to him in the #4 jersey.

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    David taking a break;
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    And finally David with one of his favorite teams; (maybe next year :wink: )
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    Thanks to all who read this and for meeting David.
  2. Leigh


    Feb 19, 2005

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am moved by such a courageous kid!
  3. He is also a very lucky little boy to have such a loving and supportive family surrounding him!! Thank you so much for sharing this touching story with the Cafe. :)  :) 
  4. NeilCam


    Feb 21, 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Great shots Dave and glad to see David doing so well!

  5. Dave,

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. Excellent pictures.
  6. Wonderful, glad David and the gang had fun, to bad the Sixers didn't deliver a win. So were you able to shoot during the game too?


    Feb 22, 2005
    New Jersey
    Thanks for your comments, Leigh.

    Thanks for your comments. He has taught me an awful lot about life :D 

    Thanks for the comments on the photos Neil, just some quick snap shots. David is doing great now and enjoying life! Thanks for reading.

    Thanks Jay.

    Thanks Mike. I didn't know if we could bring a camera in or not, so we brought my wifes' Pentax *istDS because of the size and the fact that it can be packed into a realitivly small bag. The gaurd at the door opened the case, saw the camera and didn't say anything. (Maybe because my wife was carrying it :)  ) We took shots during the game and on the concourse and no problem. I saw a lot of other cameras and some 35mm film cameras. I wish I had my D2h, but that might have been pushing it.
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