You may remember Andrew Cunningham and his best friend Tony Reuter from the short film I produced earlier this year, "Follow My Steps." Well, this past Wednesday, I made a quick trip up to Syracuse for Andrew's Moving Up ceremony to mark his graduation from Onondaga Hill Middle School and entrance into high school. Next year he will be attending Westhill High School as a freshman.
The night before my arrival, after an unlucky accident, Andrew and his father, Tom, were stuck in the Emergency Room until 1:30 a.m. waiting to have Andrew's feeding tube replaced. The attending physician had incorrectly replaced the tube with a foley catheter, and so upon my arriving in Syracuse, we rushed over to the pediatrician to have it correctly replaced. Although Andrew no longer uses the tube, Tom decided to keep it in just in case of an emergency.
It was a tough procedure to watch Andrew go through. I could see the pain and discomfort in his face, though he never winced or screamed out. When Andrew reached out for the comfort of his father's hand, Tom grabbed on and whispered, "you're my hero." After about 40 minutes, the procedure was over, Tom was exhausted and Andrew lay still with tears in his eyes.
Later that evening, I went along with them to the Moving Up ceremony where both Andrew and his twin brother, Tommy, graduated. Tony was in the audience, seated next to Tom and his wife, Judy, to support his buddy. As part of my ongoing documentation of their story, I decided to shoot the event in video since I had originally shot Tony's graduation from ITT Tech last September that way. As a result, I unfortunately don't have any stills from the ceremony. Even though we now have the luxury to shoot both mediums with the same camera, I find it extremely difficult to concentrate and execute at the highest level if I'm bouncing back and forth between video and stills.
By 7 a.m. the following morning, Andrew was off to finish up the last couple days of school and I got to spend the afternoon with Tony at the mall. It was a nice, quick 36-hour visit to Syracuse to see my favorite people, and to witness a milestone in Andrew's life as he prepares to move into high school.
I'm looking forward to my next visit. Like Tom said, "I'm stuck with [them] now."
Thanks for reading.