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An unexpected illness left Vanessa unable to work and provide for her young family. After many failed housing situations, including stays with friends and family, she moved into the Rescue Mission with her four young children.
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Jasim is a refugee from Iraq. He moved to the US to build a better life for himself and his family, who remained behind in the Middle East. He hopes to bring them here to join him.
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Joy and Shirlene
Joy suffered from ovarian cancer and became a resident of hospice care at the Rescue Mission. Her friend, Shirlene, became her caretaker until Joy lost her battle to cancer in October. "Project Hands" is dedicated to Joy.
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After attempting to take his own life, Rick was in in intensive care for 3 months, a coma for 18 days and a wheelchair for half a year. Today he is grateful for a second chance at life and says his greatest accomplishment is being himself.
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Dustin suffers from an anxiety disorder and has been in and out of psychiatric facilities for years. His stepfather was mentally abusive, but he found strength and support in his mother. One day, he'd like to to work in the psychiatric field, perhaps as a counselor.
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Laura Weeks, Artist
A Cave Spring graduate, Laura Weeks studied journalism at JMU, where she discovered her passion for photography working for the university newspaper. She currently works in the marketing department at Magnets USA.
Laura Weeks loves to photograph people: her nephew, couples and families at strolling the fairgrounds of Salem, portraits of babies and ballerinas. Her pictures vary in theme and composition, but one thing they all have in common: her photos tell a story.
After a tour at the Rescue Mission, Weeks was inspired to learn more about the people there and their stories. She met with more than 50 people and took images of their hands, capturing so much emotion in the curves of fingers and the lines of skin. Those photos are now a part of her collection, “Project Hands: For the Stories We Hold,” which will show at the Alexander/Heath Contemporary in downtown Roanoke. The exhibit opens Friday, December 4. The collection was previously on display at 2nd Helpings.
While all of the photos tell incredible stories, a few stand out for Weeks. “Jasim’s story is one of my favorites,” she says. “He is a refugee from Iraq. He came to the US and left his wife and children behind. He wanted to build a life for himself and have his family join him.”
And then there are Joy and Shirlene. Joy, a hospice-care resident, suffered stage-four ovarian cancer. Her friend, Shirlene, became her caretaker. Unfortunately, Joy recently lost her battle to cancer, but not before she encouraged Weeks to share her collection with the community. Her exhibit at the Alexander/Heath is dedicated to Joy.