© Cameron Bloom Photography

The odd little bird who saves a family


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“Their beautiful relationship could be defined as unlikely best friends, but it was deeper than that. It was part mother and daughter, part nurse and patient. And it was also two sister spirits, strong yet fragile, united by a single word: UP. Sam wanted to sit up straight, to stand tall on her own two feet, and Penguin wanted to fly above the trees and beyond the clouds.” 

Cameron Bloom, his wife Sam and their three boys were a normal, happy family – until a near-fatal fall left Sam paralysed and deep in depression. “I heard a horrendous crash of broken bells, a violent ringing of metal striking stone. Sam had leant against a safety fence – parallel rows of steel poles bolted to concrete pillars… The barrier collapsed beneath her…and then she was gone. Sam lay twisted on the tiles twenty feet below. She was utterly still.” Sam had suffered a spinal cord injury and was now a paraplegic. 

But in the darkest days of Sam’s struggle, a new and unexpected member of the family came into their lives: an injured magpie chick abandoned after she fell from her nest, who became known as Penguin Bloom. The Blooms rescued Penguin, and in return she saved them in ways they could not have imagined. As the damaged little chick grew into a strong and beautiful bird, Sam found a joy and strength of her own. 

 (Cameron Bloom Photography)
© Cameron Bloom Photography

“In the beginning we thought we were rescuing Penguin, but now we know this remarkable little bird has made us stronger, brought us closer as a family, given us countless reasons to smile and laugh during an extremely difficult time and, in doing so, helped us heal emotionally and physically… So, in a very real way, Penguin rescued us”, Sam says. 

 (Cameron Bloom Photography)
© Cameron Bloom Photography

Penguin Bloom is a story of how compassion, friendship and family can come from unexpected places. A story of hope and courage, it features Cameron Bloom’s powerful and evocative photography alongside Sam Bloom’s heartbreakingly honest and awe-inspiring personal journey.

Wings for Life is proud to receive a percentage from the proceeds of the published book in the UK. 100% of the funds received going directly to funding research to find a cure for spinal cord injury. 

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