When Cameron first saw Tammy she was a dressed in all white—modeling for a fashion show in a white blouse and long white skirt with a flower in her hair. Tammy recalls she felt ‘bridal’ in ensemble. Both Cameron and Tammy were attending a conference from out of state. Cameron, visiting from Las Vegas, noticed Tammy and said, “I want that one!” At the end of the conference, Tammy returned to her home in Seattle, but the two connected via social networks. The conference was the Abilities Expo, a trade show featuring vendors who work with individuals with physical disabilities. Both Tammy and Cameron survived life threatening accidents and now utilize wheelchairs.
Tammy was 17 years old, a co-captain of her soccer team, when a car accident left her with a spinal cord injury and paralyzed from the mid-chest down. A motorcycle accident left Cameron in a coma for 3 weeks. He suffered multiple strokes and is now paralyzed from the chest down. The strokes also caused him to have limited use of his left side.
18 months after their first meeting at the Abilities Expo, Tammy called Cameron to let him know she would be moving to Las Vegas for a new job. The two continued a friendship, which led to a romantic relationship. Tammy and Cameron understand one another. They identify with each others challenges, triumphs and experiences in ways able bodied friends couldn’t always appreciate. It took some adjusting and learning how to incorporate each others difficulties and strengths to complement each other. Tammy has been a special support to Cameron as he has transitioned to life in a wheelchair over the past 5 years. Living in a wheelchair for over 18 years, Tammy has dealt with many of the emotional, physical and social hurdles her new life presents.
Activists in the Las Vegas area, Tammy and Cameron do not let their disabilities deter them from having full time jobs or, in Cameron’s case, participating in the Sin City Skulls—a quadriplegic wheelchair rugby team. Recently, they enjoyed a trip back to the Abilities Expo where they first met. On a park bench in Hermosa Beach, Cameron lowered to one knee and asked Tammy to marry him!
The Las Vegas chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding will grant Tammy and Cameron’s wedding wish in 2012.
Photography by Jenn Thompson Photography