Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Meet The Man Behind the Camera

Meet Mark Lenz.  He's the man behind the camera at a number of events for the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  If you have ever looked at the pictures after a racewalk or climb and felt like you were there; it's because Mark's creativity behind the lens captures the essence of the event and the teams participating.  He is a longtime member of the North Texas Board of Trustees and also serves on the Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament committee.

Tell us about your history with LLS in North Texas.
My friend, Jim Willis, was diagnosed with leukemia in the mid 1990s and I played in the first Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament that he started with fellow blood cancer patient Bob Barker in 1997.  Bob is still with us, but Jim is not.  I stay involved to support Bob, who has fought the good fight and still is doing so.  After volunteering on the golf committee for years, I was approached to join the board of trustees and have been involved with the board since 2002.

Since I started volunteering with LLS in 1997, I have experienced blood cancers in my extended family.  My cousin’s daughter passed away at the age of nine, just after starting treatment for her blood cancer and another cousin has chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Participation with LLS has become a family affair.  Tell us more about that.
My father has participated in the Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament for many years and has encouraged his friends to get involved.  My wife, Patti, has participated in or volunteered in several events over the years, including many years in the School and Youth program when our children were still in school.  My son, Brian, has volunteered at the golf tournament several times and has participated in the Big D Climb.

What makes photographing LLS events so challenging?
There is so much going on and trying to find something that tells the story amidst all of the chaos is the challenge.  The group shots and the actual event shots are always part of what I do, but finding something special that says why we raise money to fight the fight without needing words is what I try to look for.  And it is not always there or easy to find in a large group of people.

Being able to interact with participants in the events and learn their stories, even if just briefly, and thanking them for their participation since they take time out of their schedules to be there instead of doing something else.  Hopefully I can take shots that they will share with their friends and family to show what we do and maybe get more participants the next time, or shots that the LLS can use to market what we do in a more productive way.

Which are your favorite pictures from events?
Photos that tell a story without words, like the photo of the boy with the tag saying I am walking for my mommy from Fort Worth Light The Night Walk a few years ago, or the boy with white lantern on his father’s shoulders in Fort Worth a couple weeks ago.  (White lanterns are carried by survivors, red by supporters and gold in honor of those who have lost their battle with a blood cancer.)  Otherwise, it is groups or individuals that really show they back the cause, because of what they are wearing, or a sign created for the event, or just how they act.

You can see more of Mark's photos on our Facebook page.  Like us today and follow along with Mark's incredible work.

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