Two years ago, my very dear friends lost their only son to a freak lighting strike on Venice Beach, California. The event made national news, as did the passing of their son Nick, a gifted baseball player and an incredibly bright soul who was set to attend USC that year. The loss of a child, no matter the circumstances, is grief beyond belief – but to loose a child so suddenly and randomly is something I can barely wrap my heart around.
Last week, I was in Los Angeles to witness and photograph how my dear friends, two grieving parents, have channeled that grief into something positive and incredibly moving. They started a foundation in Nicks name and held a Baseball event at Notre Dame High School in the Valley. It’s the school where Nick played baseball and the event was created as a venue for people to come together, play ball, connect with friends and family and to raise money for the Thrive in Joy, Nick Fagnano Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships to USC as well donating money and support to several Los Angeles schools and on going projects to make over classrooms in the impoverished districts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
The event at Notre Dame was a moving celebration of life. Dozens of people, including coaches and umpires, donated their time and energy to create events like; baseball clinics for little kids, a lecture for parents on how to support student athletes or to be better coaches for their kids teams, an exhibition game with many alumni and friends, a softball game for older men and women, food, games and a silent auction with excellent items.
When I shoot events, my job is to capture the energy of that event, the heart and soul of what it’s all about. In this case, I didn’t have to search for that narrative it was all around me. It was an absolute pleasure to have been a part of it. My friends, the volunteers and the participants were all there to celebrate the life of an incredible young man, and in his name, help others to reach their full potential.
Here are some images that help tell that story: