Having Your Dreams Ripped Away

Anthony Carbajal is a Wedding Photographer in Temecula, California and during the past six months he noticed his hands becoming weaker and his arms had began twitching. He shook it off and tried to tell himself it was carpal tunnel. After both his mom and grandmother being diagnosed, he knew what it was: ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

ALS is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that effects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Motor Neurons die and lead to the inability for the brain to control any of the muscle movement. Anthony's mother was diagnosed about ten years ago and his grandmother passed away from the disease when he was in high school. Anthony originally became a wedding photographer three years ago because it gave him the ability to work from home and take care of his mother. He described it as "photography [being] something I’ve always been passionate about, but I never thought I could make a career out of my “hobby”... boy was I wrong. Starting a wedding photography business gave me the flexibility I needed for my mom and it was insanely fun... on weekends I would photograph “love” and on weekdays, I would help care for my mother and would edit in between." In the past three years he has photographed about 120 weddings.

Anthony Carbajal Photography-1

It's a hard thing to swallow, but it's best told by Anthony. "The past six months my hands became noticeably weaker and both arms began twitching constantly... My last few weddings I had difficulties changing my camera settings because my hands were so weak... I tried to convince myself it was carpal tunnel even though I knew these were the same symptoms my mother & grandmother experienced before they were diagnosed with ALS. I finally got health insurance and was seen by a neurologist... I was diagnosed on Monday January 27th. I had to cancel 26 weddings and need to return about $30,000 in deposits. I’m selling ALL my camera equipment to help refund all my brides and my family is attempting to raise money to help pay for my future medical insurance/costs, as well as my business expenses and taxes."

Anthony is probably one of the nicest and most caring people. He is insanely talented and it is a shame for the community to lose such an amazing contributor. His doctor informed him that carrying around his cameras during weddings will likely speed up the disease due to the intensity of the day and weight of the cameras. We live our day to day lives not realizing that there are things that can happen that will not allow us to pick up a camera for the rest of our lives. It takes away our creativity, our dreams and our outlets. If you're interested in helping Anthony to help pay for his returned deposits or medical costs it would be greatly appreciated. Please head to  www.YouCaring.com/AnthonysArmy to help.


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Donate here: www.YouCaring.com/AnthonysArmy

Leave him something supportive here: www.facebook.com/AnthonyCarbajalPhotography

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Jonas Karlsson's picture

so sad to hear, i wish him all the best. his work is amazing

steve carrillo's picture

this is heartbreaking. everyday i'm concerned with my health because i have some issues. one thing i'm glad anthony did was he went after his dream and did what he loved for a living. it sucks that he can no longer photograph. i wouldnt know what to do. i wish anthony and his mother the best

Nicholas gonzalez's picture

As sad as this news may sound- and it is- I'm grateful for your sharing this story. I'm also glad that he was blessed with the ability in his life to care for his family, while still living his dream of being a photographer. It is an accomplishment many dream of but never pursue nor attain. His dreams were not stripped away; he achieved them and blessed many couples and families with enduring artwork that could not have been done better than by him. Nothing can strip that away; not even his own hands.

Rafael Steffen's picture

This is a heart breaking post, but a very important for all of us Photographers. This article makes me think a lot about the humanity in all of us. Photography has changed my life in such a positive way that everyday that I wake up in sunny Brazil and I say my prayers. This inspires me and strenghtens me to capture beautiful portraits and moments of my current and future clients that will stay with them for the rest of their lives!

Ryan Sands's picture

My heart goes out to Anthony and his family. Last year my wife's mother was diagnosed with ALS and she has had a terrible struggle dealing with the effects of this horrible disease. I know first hand the kind of sadness this news can bring to a family. I hope Anthony receives the best of care as does everyone else in this world who is effected by ALS.

August Young's picture

You guys should all give a little something to him.. Im in for $25 :-)

Keith Walters's picture

Just contributed. Wishing him and his family the best. Thank you for sharing.

Marina Yukho's picture

I'm so very sorry about what happened, i've contributed and i wish you and your family all the best!

Cletus Dsouza's picture

Jus my 2 cents. Coukd u possibly start workshops and teaching.you are such a great personality im sure everyone and yourself cpuld benefit from this.

apollo's picture

Sad to hear, very sad. My biggest fear is that I get a disease or to lose a sense. Music is my life, life without hearing would be like hell. I love to spend time by looking pictures, landscapes, life without vision is like hell.

Glad FStoppers share this article with us!

Samuel Joubert's picture

Just donated, hope this small amount will help and he'll be able to live a good life! Stay strong brother!

Wayne Smith's picture

Getting older, you start appreciating each day you can get out and shoot and dismiss some of the other issues that go along with it. Photography is such a gift and it's a lovely thing that he was able to spend time doing it before this happened. It's heartbreaking.

Mansgame's picture

Sorry kiddo. I have another artist friend who has a degenerative disease and can no longer practice her craft the way she wants. Still, creativity finds a way so even if you can't make a living off photography, no disease can take away your artistic mind as long as you're alive.

Michael Edwards's picture

This breaks my heart. Thank you fstoppers for sharing this. I will help with what little I have. Blessings.

Damian Williams's picture

All the very best in your recovery my friend. May God's grace shine upon your face and relieve your body of all impurities. One Love!

Gary Kaplan's picture

If you send me your schedule I will donate some of my time to shoot a few weddings for you at no charge. www.garykaplanphotography.com. So you don't have to think about refunds and focus of positive energy...

Mr Blah's picture

More people like you are needed... Kuddos!

Francine Tychuaco's picture

Wow. This is the most generous gift. Good karma is definitely coming your way.

Bethel / Ceremonies by Bethel's picture

Gary, here is the post about his schedule and where you can jump in to take on some of his weddings. You are awesome for doing so! http://www.jeremychou.com/personal/one-for-anthony.html


BookaHotel's picture

Its great deed on your part mate...#respect

ewan nicholson's picture

Kudos on running this story. As photographers we are too often out there alone. But as a community we have such strength together.

vishnu kumar's picture

Sad to hear that... Wishing him all the best for faster recovery..

Ankush Maria's picture

Would love to help, but based in INDIA. but my wishes are with him :D

EnticingHavoc's picture

My post will probably incur the wrath of the entire community upon me, so be it.

An allegedly successful photographer having dozens of well payed assignments each year suddenly gets confronted with the painful truth of suffering from ALS.
One would assume that when a person runs a prolific and thriving business he should have a health insurance that covers his expenses. Additionally one would assume that he had accrued enough money to come up for daily expenses for a few months. However in the case at hand the photographer apparently has already spent the advances received from clients and now faces a serious financial shortage.

Don't get me wrong I'm not (!) accusing the photographer of being sloppy or careless instead I raise the question whether his business was actually really as successful as the narrative wants to make us believe. I have serious doubts.
I guess that in stark contrast to many of the so called success stories a lot of photographers eke out a very modest living, often only one assignment away from poverty.

The intention of my post is to nudge readers to contemplate on their photography business and whether they are really as successful as they might think. When a beloved hobby is turned into a livelihood enthusiasm can easily get the better of one. It's then only a tiny step to self delusion about how successful the business really is.

Leslie Ranne's picture

There is no amount of medicine or health insurance or anything that will make him able to continue working, as ALS is a degenerative disease.

Mimika Cooney's picture

This makes me realize just how incredibly blessed I am to have my health and family and the ability to do a job I love. Thanks for sharing!

Lawrence Cooke's picture

Im in lreland so l can't make the same offer that Gary Kaplan has (huge respect guy)... It'll just a donation from me. Im sorry to hear of Anthony's illness AT ALL, let alone one that will rob him of a future in our wonderful field. I would politely suggest however that he keep a portion of his kit and maybe try offering afew classes to "hobby" togs, who want to learn how to take better shots. Its a surprising market, & would be much easier on a physical level. It wouls bring in a few $ & he could continue being a photographer. Lastly l would say to ENTICING HAVOC & others of a similar mind, the post l just read said Wedding photography business. It did not mention how ""successful"... If this young man averaged a wedding four weekends out of five, and cared for his mum (physically & financially l assume) then he was working very hard for an income, not a huge bank account. If you can't support him...do make negative remarks about his situation. "Don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes". Good luck Anthony.

Stephanie Royster-Herceg's picture

I suck at geography, but are you anywhere near a cruise port in CA? Is there a tourist attraction area close? We had a cruise shore excursion in Canada at reversing falls. It was a photography based tour. The docent showed us tips on how to use our cameras to frame and get the best nature shots of the local area. The cruise/travel agency provided the group transportation and booking etc. The docent gave us brief history about the attractions and showed us the best angles and lighting, direction etc for our shots... Who on vacation doesn't have a camera with them? It was a wonderful experience and it was a short tour, maybe 1.5hr, relatively inexpensive for shore excursions and was a group of about 20 people.... no individual contracts, paperwork, multiple day attendance, on the part of the guide.... anyway it's an idea to ponder!

FedUp's picture

What a little whiner!!
I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkisons, and I was a FULL TIME commercial photographer. Not some part-timer.
Did you hear me whine looking for money? NO.
I adapted and went with the flow until I couldn't shoot anymore.
This little Anthony whiner is an insult to professional photographers everywhere.
I have ZERO respect for this clown.
Anthony if you are reading this, I would like to talk to you about degenerative diseases and how to handle them gracefully, rather than whining.

Jeremy Chou's picture

He can't call you, BECAUSE YOU ARE ANONYMOUS!!! Everybody is a bad ass hiding behind a keyboard and a computer, and you are a perfect example of that. This is a debilitating disease and effects the body much faster than the early onset of Parkinsons. Perhaps if you would bother to do a 2 minute Google search you would find the same answer. You ARE aware the prognoses of ALS, correct? Median survival rate is 3 freaking years. So before you run off your mouth, and say somebody's an 'insult to the professional photographers everywhere', why don't you do some research? I am happy that you are 'tough' enough to work through Parkinsons, good for you. I bet you wish you had the support system Anthony does.

Now stop being so bitter and show some compassion for another fellow photographer in need.

Lauren Green Coombs's picture

He is hardly whining, Fed Up. He actually worked a full time schedule for a photographer (40 weddings/year) and takes care of his mother with the same disease. Calling him a clown is rude and as he was was just diagnosed, maybe you should show him a little empathy.

Adam Chandler's picture

Yeah, it sounds like you're just full of grace, FedUp. I'm impressed that you've never needed or asked for help from anyone during your life. Sounds like a wonderful way to live and I can tell you're just brimming with joy...

Amber Hahn-Arkenburg's picture

Some people are absolutely miserable! Fedup your tough guy act is probably stemming from the fact that if you told the truth people would know why you are playing tough guy....because your bitter heart and judgemental soul pushed everyone who cared for you away and you probably burned a whole lot of bridges in your time being the miserable person you clearly are! Are you butt hurt because no one gave into your pity party?? I can't fathem how people like you look in the mirror let alone sleep at night being as ugly as you are on the inside. I'll leave it at this...How you act is your karma....How I react to it is mine. I'll take one for the team on this rant! I'll also say a prayer for you ;0)

Zach Sutton's picture

Your name is Vince Clements, and live in Greenville/Charlotte S.C. You work with V David Clements Photography.

Here's to someone searching your name before hiring you and reads your comments...Perhaps they'll have enough sense not to hire you because of your god awful attitude.

Stephanie Royster-Herceg's picture

Well played Zach!

greg tennyson's picture

Become a studio rat. Hire a Digi Tech & assistant to set up gear and shoot tethered from a tripod.

Keep taking pictures till you kick the bucket.

Andy's picture

God has great plans for you Anthony! Keep believing because you're going to get through this and still continue doing what you love. "For I know the plans I have for you, says the lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

John_Skinner's picture

Stiff upper lip and all that mate.

With some people it's a walk through life, others have to take what they get. I'll only share with you that as time passes on, you will think of this as 'just a part of who you are' and not like you feel now.. I've adjusted (hard at times) but it's part of who we are as humans. Love often and love hard. Cherish the friends and family you have. The rest is just gravy.

Philip A Swiderski Jr.'s picture

is a disabled man in his mid 30's I understand the story it's a terrible thing when you lose your ability what are greater injustice is when you lose your ability to provide for yourself I struggle daily to feed myself take care of myself and in the process I am trying to build my own career my own business as I don't have much to give and I don't know how I could travel if somebody was able to help me get to where these weddings are going to be I would be more than willing to help out as a shooter second shooter and I would be more than willing to help out Anthony in his personal daily life anyway I can strength comes in numbers every time one of us falls down it is the rest of the communities job to help us back up is I seriously I understand neurological disorders and diseases there is still hope Anthony you have a great mind and even greater heart. if there's any way I can help from where I currently am in life please don't hesitate to contact me support@woctxphotog.com

Marc Weisberg's picture

+1 on helping you out with covering a wedding for you in the So. Cal area. You can email me from my site @ marcweisberg.com

Toronto Product Photography's picture

My heart brakes for you. It is hard enough to find your passion and excel at it. You did and God takes it away, I hope there is a greater to wisdom to this to put sense to this loss and madness.

Jimmy Schaefer's picture

If ya need any editing help community let me know...All I do is edit photos. I be whiling to give up some of my time to help out.

Joe Carter's picture

Thanks for sharing this FStoppers… I've shared the info on my Facebook wall shouting out for help for Anthony.

Deirdre Ryan Photography's picture

Keep positive and know that good karma is upon you!

daniel melgoza's picture

I know someone that has the power to heal you. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. I feel in my spirit that the Spirit of God is willing, but everything is by faith. I'm still trying to figure out how I landed on this page. Blessings Anthony!

mofoso fistos's picture

My first symptoms of ALS occurred in 2011, but was diagnosed in 2013. I had severe symptoms ranging from shortness of breath, balance problems, couldn't walk without a walker or a power chair, i had difficulty swallowing and fatigue. I was given medications which helped but only for a short burst of time, then i decided to try alternative measures and began on ALS Formula treatment from Akanni herbal centre , It has made a tremendous difference for me (Visit www. akanniherbalcentre .com). I had improved walking balance, increased appetite, muscle strength, improved eyesight and others.