So by now you know I'm really into photography. It came as a solution to get great photos for the blog, but it's evolved into a great hobby and business. Along the way, I've met some amazing people who also share my same love for photography. There's an amazing group of Memphians who took me in and helped me along the way. We call ourselves MPG, Memphis Photographers Group. I know, it's not the most thought out name, but it totally works for us.
Sadly I couldn't make the Saturday meet up. I was so bummed out about it. I did get out and take photos, but I was missing my crew. Then I got the word Monday around noon that one of the guys had fallen and was in pretty bad shape. I spoke with my friend Eric (@webraw) and he told me it was a guy named Dereck Larsen that fell, someone I had never met.
The normal thing to do is to shrug it off and continue living my life, but something told me to further investigate. Eric told me he had fallen from 25 feet after losing his grip on a fire escape and had a skull fracture, 1 fractured knee and 1 shattered knee. He also told me that Dereck was in Memphis on vacation and had no family here. I felt awful that this guy would have to sit at Regional One by himself. So I went to see him when I got off work that day. I had no clue what to expect. I didn't know who he was or what he looked like. I didn't know if he would be wrapped in head to toe bandages or if he could even talk, but I went anyways.
I found him in the Trauma Assessment part of the ER with another photographer I had never met. It was a bit awkward, but I sat down and began talking to Dereck. I told him who I was and why I had came. I could tell he thought I was a bit nuts, but we talked for about an hour or so. He told me he was to have surgery the next day to put a plate in his head to fix the fracture. He was obviously very nervous and scared about that and wasn't too cool with having to shave his hair. So to comfort him, I told him I would bring him a skull cap to cover the scar and to keep his head cold.
So I kept my word and naturally had to get him a Memphis beanie, which he thought was awesome. I told him I would come see him after his surgery. I came that evening after work, but he was still in recovery. So the next day I didn't go to lunch but went to find him. Once I did, he was excited to see me. I must admit I was totally glad to see that he was ok and in a pretty good mood. So we talked more about where he was from, his parents, his girlfriend, food, dreams in life. The whole time I'm thinking I just met this guy like 2 days ago and we are chatting it up like we've known each other forever. I just let him talk. He feel asleep a few times, but I just stayed with him. His girlfriend, Samantha, eventually came to the room. She came all the way from Denver! She was so impressed by all the hospitality her and Dereck had received. The whole group had been by at some point to check on him or see if Samantha needed anything. I told her Memphians are the nicest people in America and we have loads of Southern hospitality.
At this moment, Dereck is still at Regional One. He is slated to have his knee surgeries as of this post. He will likely face a long road to recovery, but his spirits are up and he knows he has people who are there for him. I'm not sure why I've taken so much to Dereck, a guy I've never known, but he's an overall great guy and I do admire his courage. He's been cracking jokes the whole time and has been upbeat in spite of.
Meeting Dereck has been truly inspiring to me. It's given me a new purpose of sorts. I feel like he's a great friend already and I've known him a total of 4 days. Samantha has set up a GoFundMe in Dereck's name to help cover the huge bills that will be associated with this accident. If you could, please give something to my new buddy. Anything at all will definitely help. Dereck's GOFUNDME ---Click HERE. If not, please send your prayers and positive thoughts for not only him, but Samantha and his parents out in Phoenix. This is a tragic accident so close to the time when families are normally together.
Did I mention that Dereck is an amazing photographer? Well, i will let his work speak for itself. These are straight from his personal Instagram @6millionstories