So it’s that time of year again… for what you ask? For two of the greatest families you’ve ever met to combine forces for the ONE, the ONLY…. (*please read with the Mr. Movie guy’s voice*)….4th Annual Lynn Wheeler Golf Tournament for Emily Lee!!
Doug & Lynn Wheeler are members of our church at Covenant Presbyterian, and their story really is incredible. Christmas day of 2005, Lynn and her family were in a severe car accident on their way to church. Everyone else suffered only broken bones and bruises, but Lynn was then unable to move from the neck down. Since then, she’s been on a respirator and needed 24 hour care from her friends and family to survive. I personally didn’t know the Wheeler’s before her accident, but since knowing them I can say that they are some of the most joyful people I know. They truly have shown me what it looks like to have joy that’s not based on circumstances, the joy that comes from the Lord. They really are such a blessing to the people they know, even by just letting us watch the way they love each other. If you don’t know them, you’re missing out…. it’s true. The first two years we hosted the tournament in Lynn’s honor and used all of the proceeds towards her full-time care needs, but eventually they wanted to help another family with similar needs. Through mutual friends, they came across Emily Lee’s story, and the baton was then passed.
Nathan & Diana Lee had their third little girl, Emily Lee, on July 15th, 2005. They brought her in for testing at 5 weeks old because they felt she was not developing normally, and they determined that she had SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). This was the same diagnosis as their second child, Linnea Grace, who had passed away from respiratory failure. Within a year, Emily had lost her ability to swallow,breath adequately while sleeping, and couldn’t cough adequately because her muscles were so weak. She had to use a BiPAP breathing machine when sleeping, a feeding tube for all nutrition, and a host of other medical devices to help sustain her life.
SMA is the #1 genetic killer of kids under the age of 2… and Emily is now 6! She’s outlived her prognosis, and now she attends school 3-5 times a week, drives a power chair, and participates with and enjoys the people and world around her. She has such a sweet, sweet spirit, and she’s surrounded by a family that is not only ridiculously cool, but incredibly loving and kind.
Before they skipped town again we were able to do a little family session, and they were a total blast! Nathan’s parents, Nancy & Doug, were able to hop in on the action too and show some of that good ol’ grandparent love. I even got to use their crazy awesome van ramp to get a few shots – a definite necessity for a photographer, for sure. I’m gonna need to invest soon…. After some tree-climbin, some kid-swinging, blanket lounging, and tickle torture, here’s what we ended up with!
If you want to keep tabs on the Lee family or send them some support (DO ITTT), you can find more info here: