Imaginary becoming Real – The Journey Back

journey backIt was almost a year ago while minding my business and at the end of what seemed to be a  normal day, I was stricken with a stroke.  Doctors said it was a “small” stroke but it has made a major difference in my life.

I was blessed to not have most of the issues that stroke victims have  – no headaches, no speech problems, no vision problems, and no notable facial drooping.  I did have weakness on my right side and the inability to use my right arm and leg.  When I woke up that day I did not imagine how it would end or that I would spend almost the next 8 weeks in hospitals and rehab facilities.

Wheel chair bound and having to ask to be taken to the bathroom was my start.   Hard headed I listened to what doctors were saying but I never imagined being less than what I was before the stroke.  When I was wheel chair bound I imagined being able to walk with a cane.  Each day I pleaded with the therapist to leave one in my room so I could practice. Eventually one day she “forgot” and left one there.  Once I became comfortable (in my mind) with the cane and before the therapist thought I was ready I started taking steps without the cane.  Scolded for walking around the rehab center without the cane I became more frustrated but more determined and somewhat sneaky.  I felt that it was my body and if I fell it was my business.   Fortunately, I never fell at the rehab.  I could notimagine being cane bound.

Now I am almost 11 months post stroke.  I go where I want to go on my own 2 feet. No cane or wheel chair!  My walk is not pretty yet.  It is getting easier and easier to walk up and down hills and to climb on and off metro buses and the subway.  I am also a professional photographer taking pictures again – probably better than I did before.  People see me on the streets and probably feel sorry for me and think I have it so bad but they have no idea what I looked like a few months ago nor can they imagine how great I will be walking next month which will be 1 year post stroke.  I can imagine it!

Do you have an ailment or situation and know that you are going to do better?  You just can’t imagine anything less!

Lonnie Dawkins is a portrait and event photographer based in Washington, DC

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Lonnie Dawkins Photography


Not your everyday dentist office.

One of last week’s assignments was a photo shoot for Ambiance Dental Spa in Bowie, MD.

It’s not your everyday dental practice.  Dr. Clarine Green Hightower describes it as a dental spa and you will know what she means when you walk in and see the warm colors, comfortable seating, and patient friendly operatories (I just learned that word).  There is a great staff and a  number of other services and treatments that welcome patients.

Maryland photographer dental office

Does this look like your dentist’s office?

Lonnie Dawkins Photography

Downtown Washington, DC turned Purple for Pancreatic Cancer Research

I never appreciated the beauty of the color purple until I saw masses of purple T-Shirts and purple and white balloons in downtown Washington this past Saturday. The occasion was the Pancreatic Cancer Purple Stride 5k Walk & Festival. You can go to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network or Shirley’s Angel Foundation to find out more about the event.

Meanwhile enjoy the beauty of purple. Lonnie Dawkins on Facebook

Purple balloons across Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC

Purple balloons  & US capitol in Washington, DC for Purple Stride 2011

Balloons form as S shape at Purple Stride 5k Walk

Walkers are ready to being Purple Stride 2011 in Washington, DC

Purple fashion with variations were seen everywhere

Walker signs Purple Stride In Honor In Memory Board 2011

Band playing for Purple Stride Walk Washington DC 2011.  A wode variety of selctions.

A sea of purple at the Purple Stride 5k Walk 2011

Support Shirley’s Angel Foundation at Pancreatic Cancer Purple Stride 5K Walk in Washington, DC

In an earlier post we talked about a local organization Shirley’s Angel Foundation (SAF) and the work that it is doing in the community.  See the earlier post.   SAF is the leading provider of research and education to decrease the incidence and mortality of Pancreatic Cancer in the African-American community.

This weekend SAF is participating in the PANCAN Purple Strides 5k Walk in Washington, DC.  The event takes place Saturday June 18 from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM.  Fee: Adult $30, Youth age 3-12 $10, Virtual Participant $35, Survivor Free

Purple Stride 5K Walk and festival

Join the team!  Even if it is too late to walk or you have other plans for Saturday, your donation can walk and help advance research, support patients and create hope for those affected by pancreatic cancer.  Click here for more info and to donate.

Team Page of Shirley’s Angel Foundation

Shirley's Angel Foundation for Pancreatic Cancel Research

Family working at Shirley's Angel Foundation at NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expo 2010

Shirley's family educating public at NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expro 2010

Shirley’s Angel Foundation website Visit SAF’s website to find out about other SAF events taking place in the community.

K.Nicole- Freelance Artist, Personal Trainer, Personal Chef

K.Nicole Photoshoot last year.

Since our shoot K.Nicole has started a new business promoting healthy lifestyles through nutrition and fitness.   It includes Kitchen Takeovers; Personal Chef service; Custom Work outs; and Personal Training

K.Nicole on Facebook

Makeup:             Lonnie Dawkins on Facebook


woman in brown leopard pattern with dreds and hoop earrings

woman boxer K.Nicole

woman in yellow sweater and dreds in fatigue pattern

woman artist with painting

Lonnie Dawkins is a Maryland Portrait and Event Photographer.

Be an angel, a PURPLE Angel, and help fight Pancreatic Cancer in the African American Community

When pancreatic cancer snatched the life of our beloved aunt, mother, grandmother, wife, sister, friend Shirley A. Singletary less than a year ago,  few of us knew much about this disease and its severity.  The passing of Aunt Shirley had a traumatic effect on so many.  Today we are hearing far too often of others including Brock Peters, Patrick Swayze, and Aretha Franklin (though she hasn’t confirmed it) whose lives have been intruded upon by this monstrosity.  We know of others including our colleagues, friends, and neighbors who have also been affected.  Something needed to be done.

Since her passing Shirley’s children and husband Warren have established Shirley’s Angel Foundation in her memory.   It has already become the leading provider of research and education to decrease the incidence and mortality of Pancreatic Cancer in the African-American community.  As stated on the foundation’s website its mission is to fund research that can lead to innovative treatments and earlier detection of Pancreatic Cancer in the African-American community, with an emphasis on increasing awareness to help families make educated decisions about their health.  This organization has already made tremendous strides towards that mission including manning a booth at the NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo earlier this year.  Other activities and fundraisers have happened or are being planned.

This month Terri Hankins, Shirley’s daughter, is celebrating her 40th birthday and has a personal goal of raising $4,000 for pancreatic research.  I am making a donation today and it would be great if you would also consider.  Even a $5 donation would be helpful but you can donate any amount you like by going to the SAF site where you can also become an Angel.  Visit the site to find out what being PURPLE means.  So today instead of buying a pair of shoes, a new dress, a suit, or a cup of coffee, please donate to a great cause.  Skip lunch or just skip dessert, donate that money and let’s blow away that $4000 goal this month!  You can donate anytime, not just this month.  Think about what a $100 or more donation could do to fight this disease.  Donate in honor of someone special.

Visit the site to learn more about pancreatic cancer and what you can do to help prevent or manage it.

Shirley’s Angel Foundation       Terri Hankins at SAF     Donations

Become an Angel               Lonnie Dawkins Photography

Shirley's Angel Foundation for Pancreatic Cancel Research

Shirley A. Singletary  Pancreatic Cancer 1937-2010

Shirley A. Singletary 1937-2010

Shirley's Angel Foundation at NBC4 Health Fitness Expo 2010

Family working at Shirley's Angel Foundation at NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expo 2010