In recent weeks – just prior to her unexpected reunion with Donald Trump – Ms. Melissa Ann Young made a treacherous journey from Wisconsin to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet  for the very first time a woman who has inspired her from the tender age of nine.

Melissa is dying.  Autonomic Failure.  And while the disease is incurable… she is unstoppable.  This former Miss Wisconsin {2005} has been named by The Beauty Battalion as the True Beauty Award Winner for May 2016.  Her story was first featured in their December issue with an update in April’s issue.  As an added bonus… you’ll even get a little sneak peek for May {featuring Melissa, herself, sharing pieces of her story via Ashtyn Jade}.

The soul of her… I’m just in absolute awe.  And I’m so truly blessed to have been a part of capturing the real and raw side of Melissa’s beautiful story, one that’s both heart-wrenching and heart-warming.  She’s one of God’s angels here on Earth – and a dang funny one at that!

Why the treacherous trek?  Well… As Ms. Gretchen Jensen earned her crown as Miss USA 1989, she created a sense of awe and an avenue of hope for the then homeless Melissa.  And when the two finally came face to face this past March, this once-little-girl’s fantasy became reality.

I was asked by Missy Lovett of the Beauty Battalion to capture a bit of video of the intimate celebration they held to honor Melissa – a simple request that I would soon consider one of the greatest honors of my life.  What we expected would take only a couple of hours turned into an entire evening and then stretched into the early hours of the morning.  And I relish every moment I got to spend with these women.  I could only wish for more!

Thank you, Melissa.  Thank you, Missy & Gretchen.  And thank You, God, for creating a space in which we could all come together in faith, hope, and love.  {And special thanks to Shaun Anders, the photographer behind the gorgeous images above!  My gosh… just wait till you see even more of his phenomenal photographs of Ms. Melissa in May!!}

 

…the soul made visible…
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