Doug // February Inspira(shown)

// inspira(shown)

doug came home early from a normal day of work as the Parks and Rec Director for the city of Richland. he had a head ache and wasn’t feeling himself.

a call to his wife carol, who was out of town for business, sent him to the emergency room to get it checked out. he had been having low grade head aches, and at times completely losing his train of thought. so, a precautionary MRI it was.

only, when the Dr. came in Doug found out that he had 2 grade four malignant glioblastomoas (very aggressive brain cancer). the Dr. told him that he had 20 minutes to decide if would have the surgery or not, and if he doesn’t that he would not be living long. 20 minutes to decide. 20 minutes to decide. he calls his wife to discuss. carol, being a few hours away, hopped in the car to get to doug. no decisions were made until she was there and when she arrived, they told the Dr’s the they would like a 2nd opinion…so to Seattle it was. in the back of a ambulance and over the pass to Swedish hospital in seattle.

doug’s daughter whitney got the call at work. bringing her up to speed on an all of a sudden life threatening condition her dad was in. she went to the store, stocked up on food and magazines and met them at the hospital.

standing in line at the grocery store. an everyday and normal thing suddenly felt much different. what do you say to the checker who asks you how you are? what are you supposed to say. i wonder how many people we pass or come in contact with are in the similar situation. you just never know.

he had the surgery. the golf ball sized tumor on the speech center was removed and one remains inoperable but kept at bay with medication.

flash forward to now. 18 months later. after recovering from surgery. chemo and radiation. taking time off work. returning to work but then seeing that it is indeed time to retire. the day that whitney nominated him for this project was the day of one of his bi-monthly MRI’s. the Dr. shook Doug’s hand and reported he was a poster child for success of living with this disease.

this is not a cancer you can be in remission from. they will always have to monitor it and have the possibility of change somewhere in their minds. but he is here. 

it seems these things just come to a toss of a coin. but who is tossing it? the median survival rate for his kind of cancer is 14 months. it has been 18.

when this story was nominated, i knew in my gut the entire it would come back to this story for the project. it’s all too often, yet not often enough, we hear of someone’s survival story. do we realize enough that in any case or toss of a coin, it could very well not be a survival story. there is no drama in survival. but it is to be celebrated. my own mom beat breast cancer and my friend Mike’s mom did not. is it just a toss of a coin? we walk by these people, so many of them we wouldn’t even know what they’ve been through. i heard this story and knew instantly it would be the one.

i wanted the opportunity to highlight a survivor. someone who had he not came home from work one day and gone for an MRI – something so many people would have not done – that he would likely not have lived. someone that if he hadnt been here, would be remembered for his passions, the things who make him Doug.

my immediate inspiration for this shoot came from something i experienced after losing my papa to Parkinsons. something you find yourself doin once someone  are gone.

reminiscing on his favorite chair. 

a back scratcher. 

his birkenstocks that had to be resoled because of wear. 

the green candy dish with his choice M&M’s in it. 

his life spent in Parks & Rec. the people and community. 

his girls. 

these are the things that had Doug no longer been here, would be remembered by. i wanted to do just the opposite. remember him by the passions that fill him. get him around the things that say doug all over them. i wanted this to be an opportunity to document who he is amongst the things he loves. 

because not only will this be who he is remembered for, but because he is alive, he will have the opportunity to continue to love these things. to give his time to. they are living passions, quirks and that fact alone is what should be celebrated. 

thank you to the Strong family for opening up their home and story and being willing to be a part of this project. and hopefully drawing attention to the survivors that we pass everyday.

**If you know someone with an inspirational story, I would love to hear it. nominations for the inspira(shown) project are open now until this friday. if you know of someone that could be an encouragement, someone who deserves to have their story told…please take the time to nominate them. this project cannot exist, unless you nominate.**

you can see the criteria and nomination process here.


and again, things are continuing to progress and grow with inspira(shown). photographers now around the US and world are picking up this project themselves. I am beyond excited that people want to do so. also very excited to be in the process of having branding and materials made for the inspira(shown) project. soon to come.

if you’d like more information about starting this project as well – you can email me at with Project Inspira(shown) in the header.

  1. April


  2. Brittanie

    Andria, this is amazing! Whitney is one of my dearest friends and to see her dad, the “strongest” of them, caught in this light and with his family is worth more than a million words. So glad you selected Doug and so glad I was able to see these beautiful photos! Love his project 🙂

  3. michele

    such a touching story of courage and perseverance. it’s wonderful to see someone fighting to keep living a full and fabulous life.

  4. Whitney

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can’t stop looking at these images and celebrating my dad. Such a gift you gave us, Andria. Looking forward to seeing you again in April!

  5. Carly

    Andria, you did an amazing job! What a wonderful way to celebrate Doug and the strong family. The pictures are amazing and Doug looks great!

  6. Jen

    Thank you for celebrating my Uncle Doug! What an amazing photo shoot! I loved reading this and looking at the pictures. I will enjoy them again and again. Thank you for your touching work.

  7. carolina

    absolutely beautiful!

  8. Emily

    This is so incredibly beautiful and inspiring. Live every moment. Period. Your images are stunning.

  9. Kristy Field

    oh, wow. What a touching story and such sensitive images.

  10. Nataly

    I stumbled onto your page on a particularly slow day at work and have now been on for the last half (okay maybe whole) hour just looking at your incredible (INCREDIBLE) photographs. This post though, made me stop and do whatever I could to keep from crying in the middle of the office. I lost my mother just 2 years ago to Glioblastoma. During her short 3 month battle, I remember desperately searching for stories of survivors of this disease, people that have beaten the (very grim) odds to offer a bit of comfort, but rarely found anything. Until now… and even though it’s after the fact, coming across Doug’s story & photographs makes me feel so hopeful for him, for his family. There ARE survivors to celebrate! Thank you for capturing this story. The photos of him with his wife and daughter just warm my heart.

  11. Carol

    Today..(December 13, 2012) Whitney and I are in Maui celebrating Doug–after a long two years. I pulled up your wonderful blog to have a “moment” with him. Thank you again for this huge gift of caring–it is so amazing for us.
    Happy holidays to you!!