Two-year-old Finn is nearly blind. He and his twin brother Mack were born premature at 24 weeks. Shortly after, his family learned Finn had an eye cancer and cerebral palsy. His conditions make it difficult for him to distinguish his toys in the bright light or see the distance between the dark chairs and hardwood floor. With funds from an Advocates grant, his family was able to purchase a brightly colored rug to help make sense of his environment. “For strangers to award us this meant so much to us,” His mother Shannon said. “It’s hard when you want to give them everything you can and sometimes you can’t.”
“When I first came here, I didn't care if I lived or died," said Sancta Maria resident Jeannette Dawson. “As soon as I came here, I found my way back.” Two weeks after Cambridge's Sancta Maria Nursing Facility celebrated their 70th anniversary, they announced that it would be closing due to financial challenges. Many long-term patients, like Dawson, were faced with the challenge of finding a new nursing home before Sancta Maria closed.
Cheniel Garcia poses for a portrait outside of his family home in Framingham on Dec. 11, 2018. After serving four years in prison for drug charges, Cheniel Garcia changed his life. When he became friends with lifetime inmates, Garcia realized he was lucky to have an opportunity for a second chance. He focused on eating less and exercising more, he lost 212 pounds. He joined a barber education program and focused on his faith. Now, four months after being released, Garcia works full-time at the Dream Team Barber Shop and continues to stay clean. "Every day I was in prison, I had to learn something new. I couldn’t let prison shut me down.”
Melanie Leal holds her twins Constantine, left, and Matthias, right, 19 months, at their apartment in Framingham on July 13, 2018. Leal receives diapers from the Diaper Project. “Times were really financially tough, and we’re still behind on bills and catching up,” Leal said. “You have to turn to your community, and that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’m not ashamed of it.”
Dr. Alice Flaherty poses for a portrait in her office at Massachusetts General Hospital on Jun. 7, 2018. Neurologist Flaherty likes to see patients other doctors have given up on. Many have faced questions about whether they’re really as sick as they say. Her own experience with mental illness taught her to view treatment as collaboration between a doctor and a patient.
Stephanie Zaia poses for a portrait at her home in Medfield on June 12, 2018. After years of her dystonia being misdiagnosed, Zaia met Dr. Alice Flaherty, a boundary breaking neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. “She believed me,” said Zaia. “She treated me like a human.”
Harvard statistician and geneticist Leon Peshkin poses for a portrait in his office at Harvard Medical School on June 14, 2018. Peshkin's genome will become the reference for labs all over the world.
Attorney Susanne Gilliam, of Sudbury, looks over legal documents with her Sheltie dogs Corwin and Merlin outside of her home on Aug. 05, 2018. Gilliam recently volunteered with the Immigration Justice Campaign to act as a lawyer for detained immigrants in El Paso.
David Hollender, professor at Berklee College of Music, plays the banjo in the hallway during the annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival at the Sheraton in Framingham on Feb. 16, 2019.
Barb Rigney poses with her new Chrysler Pacifica on Huron River Drive. Rigney bought the first Pacifica sold from her local dealership. As a mother of four older children, she appreciates the big cargo area that allows her to help her children move as they transition into adulthood.