Jessica Courtney

Jessica Courtney

Yesterday I received a lot of positive response on Hebers Vega’s multimedia essay. Today I want to highlight one more student, Jessica Courtney with the Preemptive Love Coalition. Jessica, along with her husband Jeremy and other staff work hard to bring life saving surgery to Iraqi children. The story is an amazing one and worth listening to in it’s entirety. I interviewed Jeremy Courtney some time back on this blog. You can listen to the complete interview HERE.

Jessica, like most of my students is not a photographer nor did she know the first thing about Lightroom or multimedia production. This was all new to her. Jessica got excited because she found a way that she could help tell their children’s stories. The essay found here is about a baby named Leah. Not only does Leah have a life threatening heart problems, she has Down syndrome. The questions and decisions facing Jessica and the staff of Preemptive Love are not issues I would ever want to deal with.

While I was with them, I was flabbergasted at the many, many times people came up to either Jessica or Jeremy saying they or someone they knew had children with heart problems. We’ve all heard of “cancer clusters”. Areas where pollution, like factory waste, has caused high amounts of cancer to show up in communities. This is similar. It is like clusters of heart related issues in and around the Norther Iraq region. The only feasible explanation seems to be it’s relation to the many chemical attacks carried out by Saddam during the Iraq Iran war (see the Halabja post). Please listen to the short story told by Jessica titled “Leah’s House”. Comments are welcome.

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.


  1. HotDotDeeDee

    WOW!! Great job, Jessica!! This one brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for introducing the world to your work! MATT – Thanks again for “spotlighting Iraq” for the world, and showing others that good things happen here, not just the violence they see on the evening news!

  2. Beth

    children with heart problems…I feel so sad for them

  3. eDanial

    pretty interesting 🙂


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