Sometime in mid-April, my editor Eileen approached me about a story that reporter Leigh had begun working on.
“It’s a sick baby,” Eileen said. “They’re giving him three weeks to live.”
Two months later, the baby is still alive and hanging in there — and Leigh’s and my hard work was published on the front page of last weeks’ Sunday News. Covering Houston Schwartz’s story had been a series of ups and downs, crossed fingers, persistent phone-calling and emailing and long hours of reporting and photographing… and it’s not over.
But, for now, here are the photos that my editors and I chose to go with Leigh’s first story:
This edit of 16 pictures came from four long days of shooting over a period of almost two months. It was important to me that I make pictures of not just Houston with his father, Matt, but also show Matt’s other three children inside and outside their home, with Houston, without Houston. The story, after all, belongs not just to Houston but also to Matt, who struggles to balance his attention to Houston’s needs and his attentiveness to his other three children. It was also important that I show the urgency of Houston’s circumstances. Leigh and I were unable to accompany the family to Boston when Houston went to Children’s Hospital Boston for a consultation that turned into a multi-week stay. But we did sit in on an appointment at Harrisburg’s Penn State Hershey Children’s Heart Group offices, as well as catch up with the family at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center after they returned from Boston.
This story may have been published, but Houston’s story isn’t over — and, as far as Leigh and I are concerned, we’re not done. Houston’s father Matt came home from Children’s Hospital Boston owing a reported $350,000. A new flood of volunteers and fundraising efforts has emerged. And Matt plans to move his family to Hershey over the summer.
So, stay tuned. There will soon be additional details, new developments and more pictures.