gene + margie: a love story.

the power of love.


i recently had the opportunity to do more photography for the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) – an amazing medical rehabilitation network that provides outstanding care + service to thousands of patients. through working with NRH i have documented amazing stories of recovery and gained incredible insight into the human spirit. however, nothing could have prepared me for the truly amazing story of gene + margie.

almost 5 years ago gene + margie’s world was turned upside down. in may 2004 gene stepped on a carpet tack while renovating his home – a minor incident that, within two weeks, triggered a series of severe medical problems. blood poisoning and  hemorrhagic stroke put gene was in grave danger. he was septic, and underwent surgery to have breathing and feeding tubes inserted. doctors estimated gene’s chance of survival at a mere 5%.

his wife margie refused to listen to the countless doctors and family who told her that there was no chance for gene. even if he did survive, they warned he would likely never recover. margie remained strong and completely devoted herself to caring for her husband. after 6 weeks in the ICU, gene spent 6 months in a rehabilitation hospital where he battled seizures, kidney failure, internal bleeding, heart irregularities and other complications. when he was stable enough to be released from the hospital, margie ignored suggestions to place gene in a nursing home. she decided to care for him herself and took him home.

after transforming their home and her life to care for her husband, margie began to see her efforts pay off as gene made slow, steady progress. when margie realized gene needed further therapy to fully recover, she turned to NRH. although he was still unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair, gene began physical, occupational + speech therapy twice a week at the NRH regional rehab center near their home. the superior care from the center combined with margie’s tough love and dedication resulted in a truly miraculous outcome. gene began walking, eating, and speaking. he overcame all the odds that science deemed nearly impossible because of his perserverence, NRH’s expertise, and ultimately, margie’s love.

gene continues to improve and struggles to regain his strength and speech. however, his ability to laugh, to smile and to love are stronger today than ever.

to me, margie and gene are inspiring beyond words. it was a true privilege to meet them and to hear their story – it gave me a deeper understanding of what love and marriage is truly about. i have such great admiration and respect for margie’s incredible self-sacrifice and enduring hope. her unbreakable spirit is remarkable. the afternoon i spent with this couple left a lasting impact on me. i am in complete awe of their fantastic attitude and resilience when faced with such tragedy, and i am transfixed by the power of their truly immeasurable love. margie + gene are proof that love can conquer all.

anyone who has ever doubted the power of love needs to meet this couple.

margie + gene.

margie helps gene as he practices balance on the ball.

gene proudly shows off his muscles as he begins to regain his athletic build.

their three cats have been a great comfort to gene during his recovery.



Filed under photography, photojournalism

22 responses to “gene + margie: a love story.

  1. mamasita

    WOW! true love…what we all believe in…thanks for sharing. what a beautiful couple!

  2. Janet Ekenberg

    The article and photographs brought me to tears – of pride and happiness, because Margie is my sister. I have never seen such dedication, strength, and passion as I have witnessed in her mission to help her husband, the love of her life, these past few years. She has cared for him selflessly for years and continues to do so. He would not be here if it were not for her. He is her “Superman” and he never gives up as well. They are truly an amazing couple and have endured hardships beyond belief.
    Thank you for capturing their beautiful spirit in these photographs and sharing their truly inspiring story.
    Janet Ekenberg

  3. MK

    How inspiring! I like to keep stories like this close to my heart when I think *I’m* having a tough day. These two truly know what a hard day is and despite all their obstacles, they continue to stay positive and work hard. Thanks for this story, Himay!

  4. DC

    WOW! Ok, now I am crying! What an amazing story!

  5. Denise

    How lucky are they to have such love…..very inspiring Jaime… this one.

  6. Evvie

    The one thing you omitted is that Gene and Margie never lost their sense of humor. They are usually the butt of their own laughter but, sometimes, they directed it at their friends. I know….I live next door.

    Terrific photos

  7. Beth

    A truely wonderful article and the photos are terrific. Gene and Margie are my neighbors. Their friendship is a blessing, their struggles an inspiration. I am glad you have shared this amazing couple with others.

  8. Patti

    A great article. We have been friends of Gene and Margie for many many years…and we count it a blessing that they are a part of our lives. Thank you for writing such a wonderful article. Their story is truly amazing.

  9. This is so beautiful! That is what love is all about.. =)


    Margie and Gene are an inspiration to all of us who know them. God bless and keep them.
    You know i love you two to bits!!!!

  11. Denise Candleana-Jimenez

    Jamie, what a beautiful and touching story. Thanks for sharing it and helping it come alive through the photos. Keep doin’ what you do!

  12. Very cool testimonial. Margie is my sister and her spirit and optimism are indomitable. Gene would give you the short off his back. Thanks for posting this story about two very special people.


  13. Wow, Jaime…what a beautiful and inspiring story. I felt my heart break and then swell up again just reading it. Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s simply amazing.

  14. kseidlphoto

    oh wow.. what a special story! great capture, himay.

  15. Don Fox

    Great pictures of two of the best and strongest people I know. It’s good to see that big wonderful smile, but I guess if I had a beautiful blonde photographer over, I’d be smiling too!

  16. A friend of mine recently had a massive stroke at the age of 48. His partner has been such a rock, but I know that the recovery road will be long and I’m sure at times he is going to become frustrated and tired. I sent this posting to him as a reminder of the power of love and devotion. Thanks for sharing. Even healthy couples need to be reminded of this power, too.

  17. Jaime, Beautiful photos and writing about Henry and Marge ….two of our very favorite people.

    We are so proud of both of you. Your story is remarkable and inspiring. We love you both!

    Foxy, Rocky and Lancelot all look happy and very well cared for.

    Margaret & Lee

  18. Cef

    What an inspirational story. Two cheers for Gene and Margie!

  19. Artus Boyd

    These are my real life heroes, a true Superman and Superwoman!

  20. Incredible story, thanks for sharing!

  21. Wow Jaime, that is amazing, thanks for sharing that!

  22. lydia Hishmeh

    My husband & I met Gene and Margie when our nephew got married in Washington state. They are a great couple and in reading this story it is true love, strength and connection between them that everyone sees upon meeting both of them. Much love to both of you and your family.

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