Meet Justine-Portraits by Angie Lane
Meet Justine. She is beautiful inside and out. She is smart and caring. She is funny and compassionate. At the age of 14, she is the living definition of resiliency.
Justine has always worked hard ever since she was a kid. She has always found the drive to succeed in anything she does. Whether it be moving up from snow-plow in ice skating class or making sure she’s capable of all the skill sets to stay in the same skiing class with her brother. Skate boarding in the bowl at the age of 4, competing on the ice as a figure skater at the age of 5, Justine just liked to try it all!
It was in November 15, 2015 when our whole world took an almost tragic turn. Coming down from Lake Tahoe after dropping off her brother for his hockey game, our car skidded on black ice and we found ourselves in the ravine wedged between two trees. It was our family’s worst nightmare coming to life. Justine suffered the most with a broken femur and half of her face with broken bones. We were in the middle of the mountains and airlifting her was out of the question. A number of cars had pulled over to help us. The ambulance ride seemed to take forever and only when we got to the emergency room did I see the full damage on my beautiful daughter. Half of her face was sunken and her leg was broken. As I was trying to calm myself down and calling on all the angels for strength to help my daughter, Justine remained calm. Her biggest worry at that time wasn’t the extent of her injuries, but simply not allowing the nurses to cut off her favorite leggings! She remained herself through-out the ordeal. She was transferred shortly to UC Davis pediatric trauma center and was immediately scheduled for surgery. She assured her dad that it will be okay as I kissed her goodbye for the night to attend to my son.
The next day, I was able to see her after surgery. Still no complaints. Maybe a little hungry, but nothing about her injuries. Nothing about her pain. Nothing about what she looked like. The biggest discomfort she expressed was more because she could barely see her Instagram updates! Every day was progress for her. She worked so hard to start walking on her own “just to find where they keep the popsicles”!
Nothing seems to hold back this girl. Walking away with implants supporting her left eye and a bar to help heal her left leg, she was told she couldn’t skate for at least 6 months, maybe up to a year. Not my Justine. Two months after the accident, the ice rink was being opened at 6:00am per her request so she could skate at her own pace. By the third month, she started skating alongside her fellow figure skaters. Limited on her jumps, she eventually learned to capitalize and compensate for her metal rod. Nothing held her back. In every part of this journey, an important lesson was taught to us unknowingly. Life is too short. Simple pleasures give the greatest satisfaction. Don’t sweat the small things but most importantly, live your life the way you want it!
Throughout this ordeal and up to now, Justine became an inspiration of courage and resiliency. She chose to go back to school 45 days after the accident, crutches in tow and a patch on her eye. She continued to work hard in school and in her chosen sport. She never used her “inabilities” to hold her back. She felt more challenged to do better having them. Her golden heart still prevails whether it is giving back to the pediatric unit that once took care of her or raising money to support the local schools in the Philippines.
I know there is no stopping my little girl in chasing her dreams— not after this, not after realizing who and what she is capable of.
Short Bio of Photographer
Angie has always had a love of photography and started photographing all of her friend’s children after she received a camera from her dad as a college graduation gift. For years she learned everything she could, and “practiced” on all the children she knew, while at the same time working full-time in public relations. After her first daughter was born she focused all her energy on raising her daughter and building her photography business. Fourteen years (and three kids!) later, Angie’s passion still lies in capturing children. She loves to find the magic in everyday moments and sessions that bring out a child’s imagination.