Tragic loss propels Parker man toward helping others

Photographer records images of terminally ill people

Posted 11/29/17

Mikayla Medina was only 24 years old when she passed away suddenly July 28. Her father, Parker resident Johnnie Medina, was naturally devastated, and said he doesn't know how he functioned the first …

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Tragic loss propels Parker man toward helping others

Photographer records images of terminally ill people

Posted

Mikayla Medina was only 24 years old when she passed away suddenly July 28. Her father, Parker resident Johnnie Medina, was naturally devastated, and said he doesn't know how he functioned the first few days after her death. Preparing for her funeral, as hard as it was for Medina, gave him an idea of how he could help others and help himself move toward healing as well.

“I grabbed all the photos I could find for her funeral. You know you do a little slideshow of pictures. What I found was that I had plenty of staged photos of Mikayla, but none that I could show people and say `'this is who she was,” said Medina. “There were none of her leading up to her death that, and that made me wonder how many other people would experience the same thing when they buried a loved one.”

Medina is photographer for Google, and has spent years looking at life through the lens of his camera. He decided to put his grief and his talents to work. He created “Through The Lens,” a nonprofit organization that allows him to donate his time photographing terminally ill people in their homes, so their family members will have photos of them that reflect who they were when they have passed away.

“The first person I photographed was an amazing woman named Tammy. She's dying and wanted photos taken. I was able to take some artistic shots that captured her essence in the moment,” said Medina.

Trish Morris met Medina through volunteer work, and said he has always had a big heart and a willingness to help others.

“This is so tragic for Johnnie. But he's always been a person that leads with his heart and loves to give back to others. This is going to be an incredible journey,” said Morris.

Medina has put a call out to fellow photographers to help with the cause, and said he has received an outpouring of support and some donations from people in Parker.

“I will never get over the tragedy of losing Mikayla, and the pain will never go away. But I am so proud of the positive impact she will have on the lives of all the people I meet through the lens,” said Medina.

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