Ellicottville photographer is bright light for families living with a diagnosis

by AryanArtnews
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Nadine Saviano created the non-profit “God Winks” in 2015. Since then, hundreds of families such as Pitillo, Moorhouse and Ostlander have helped.

Ellicottville, NY — Even the most infectious smiles can’t beat the smiles Greg and Becky Pitillo had few.

“They didn’t mean to leave the hospital,” Greg said. “Something was happening with his brain and underdeveloped.”

The couple discovered it when Becky Pitillo was only 18 weeks pregnant with his son Nathan.

At birth, Nathan’s head was smaller than his brain, causing malformations. He left the NICU and received hospice care.

“They really couldn’t give us a timeline, but it was short,” Becky said.

“There is no real way to prepare it emotionally,” Greg said.

Best of all, doctors urged Pitillo to take pictures of his family.

“It was probably the farthest thing in my mind,” Becky said.

They did it through God Winks, a non-profit photography organization run by Nadine Saviano from Ericottville.

“When these little signs I call Godwinks became so frequent and overwhelming, I stopped one day and looked up at the sky and said” OK. ” Go through it, “said Saviano. ..

She quickly winked, created her hobby in 2015, and provided her family with things that diagnosis couldn’t do.

“It was one of the first major families we did when we got home and we weren’t thinking about what was all going on,” Greg said. ..

“That’s a big hope,” Saviano said.

I hope there is no price tag.

“I watch it every day because it’s actually a screensaver for my cell phone,” said Tammy Moore House. “I think everyone has special memories from that day.”

Saviano took a picture of Moore House just before the end of her wedding anniversary, which she and her husband Jeffrey celebrate together, before losing the fight against ALS last November.

“His smile and laughter, and the fact that he was joking with everyone. I’m sorry. He loved to make everyone laugh and joking, so it was definitely that (I miss most). His smile and a pleasant and loving attitude. ”

“(Saviano) must have taken more than 120-125 photos.”

However, not all smiles captured by Saviano are detected only in old photos.

Sometimes she comes to recreate them with a family in western New York like Trina Ostlander.

“I always wanted a family photo because I don’t know when the last day (of Anthony) will be,” said Ostlander. “Too many took him somewhere.”

Her son Anthony Stinson was healthy until he was two years old.

“He just started behaving differently and had a very long seizure, which is the result,” said Ostlander.

Nineteen years later, undiagnosed neurodegenerative disease means that Stinson needs care 24 hours a day, but Ostlander can continue to record every moment of the family together.

“The price is cheap. It’s all valuable,” said Ostlander.

This includes unexpected things like Stinson’s 21st birthday, where some of his ex-nurses and current nurses are by his side.

“I don’t know if I’ve found a photographer and (Saviano) has the motivation, patience, empathy, affection, everything,” said Ostlander.

Saviano has taken three photo shoots at Stinson and Nathan Pitillo.

“When you see them grow, you’re almost a member of the family,” Saviano said.

For example, Saviano can confirm that Nathan Pitillo is no longer the youngest hospice patient in Buffalo.

Through all physiotherapy and learning therapies, the 3-year-old continues to grow stronger.

“He exceeded all the expectations he had been told he wouldn’t exceed,” said Becky Pitillo.

“He’s a tough guy,” Greg Pitillo said.

Pitillo can now look back on the times most parents want to forget.

“We were at that moment and we were able to take pictures and make memories. Let’s be a family. Let’s be a family,” they said.

And remember, with a little guidance, it was the photographers who made them feel overall.

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