With just a month left to enter, we’re excited to share with you a stand-out submission to Flash Forward 2018.

You can learn more about the Flash Forward 2018 Competition at magentafoundation.org/flash-forward and enter your work by January 15, 2018.

Jason and Rachel

by freelance photographer Kirsten Leah Bitzer, based in Denver, Colorado

Jason was 19 years old and one month into his first deployment in Afghanistan when he lost both his legs above the knee, his right arm above the elbow and two fingers of his left hand in an IED explosion.

Jason and Rachel had dated in middle school, but had lost touch until they reconnected on Facebook after Jason’s accident. Rachel flew to San Diego to visit Jason where he was recovering, and within months moved there to be Jason’s full-time caretaker. Jason and Rachel eloped in 2014 and returned to Colorado, but after trying to naturally conceive for more than a year, they learned that in vitro fertilization (IVF) was likely their only option.

I began documenting their journey shortly after they started the IVF process. At the time, the United States Veterans Affairs Department did not cover the procedure, meaning Jason and Rachel would be responsible for the nearly $25,000 out-of-pocket costs for IVF, with no guarantee of success. However, donations and contributions from the community, their IVF clinic and local pharmacies cut Jason and Rachel’s expenses significantly. In October 2016, less than a year after beginning IVF, Rachel gave birth to twins via c-section: Marina (named after the Marines), and Jason Jr.