Cancer, Grace, and New Beginnings

Recently I was blessed to shoot the wedding of Alexis Beltran and Caleb Prudholm.  This event will forever hold a special place in my heart.  First, it’s a huge compliment when someone trusts you with the responsiblity of capturing the details of their big day.  They are essentially saying they have faith in you, your skill, and your artistry.  Beyond these points however it was a special event because Alexis is my cousin by marriage.  My wife and I are close with her, her family, and friends.

About 2 years ago Lex’s father Alfred, was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer.  Those of you who have experienced a loved one face a life-threatening disease or illness can empathize; those of you who haven’t, I hope you never will.  It’s incredible the toll it can take on the individual and on the family alike.  The journey was long, emotional, and physically exhausting.

Alfred had to undergo multiple treatments.  The medication took a toll on his body and we watched him grow thin and weak.  The chemotherapy was so intense that it caused 2nd degree burns in his throat, keeping him from speaking and eating solid food for months at a time.  Throughout the entire ordeal, the thing I remember most was Alfred and his wife Linda’s reserve.  They held onto the hope that he would pull through.  If you ever had a chance to visit with Alfred during periods where he could speak you would almost certainly hear him say, “I need to make it through this.  I need to walk my daughter down the aisle, and I need to see my son Andrew graduate.”

I remember thinking during that time, “God gives us grace when life is more than we can handle.”  I saw that idea evidenced on a regular basis throughout Alfred’s treatment.  When the cancer in Alfred’s neck shrunk down to a quarter of its’ original size we all thought it was a miracle.  When we heard his voice for the first time in months, it was raspy and coarse.  It pained him to talk, but we all knew it was progress towards healing, we were thankful but still wary of what the future held.

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I’m happy to write that on September 18, 2010 Alfred Beltran walked his beautiful daughter across the greens of Desert Falls Country Club to give her away to Caleb Prudholm.

The emotion of the day was carried through the ceremony and into the reception.  Before the meal and prayer, Pastor Mark stood up to announce that in lieu of wedding favors the bride and groom had made a charitable donation to the cancer research foundation in Alfred’s honor.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  In fact I noticed a little blurred vision of my own as I looked through my camera’s viewfinder towards Alfred to catch his response.

Words cannot describe that day.  It was purely joyful celebrating both Alfred’s triumph, and the new life of Lex and Caleb as two became one.  I’ll leave the

rest of the story to the photos.

Thank you to the entire Beltran family for allowing me to share your story and celebrate with you!

If you’d like to see more from this wedding, please click here for a short video: Alexis and Caleb Prudholm.

This entry was published on October 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Weddings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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