I recently had an opportunity to work with Flashes of Hope. Through donations, Flashes of Hope teams up with professional photographers around the country and asks them to donate their time and skills to create beautiful keepsake prints for families enduring a cancer diagnosis. I met with some delightful, upbeat, energetic kids and their families at a local Arizona hospital for a morning of laughter and poses. I encourage you to check out this wonderful organization and all they do for children going through the battle. Treatment is one of the biggest battles any family will endure--for these families to be able to have a bright spot in a dark place means the world to them.
Photographers bring their studio to the hospital for children and families involved with in-patient and out-patient treatment. It was such an honor to be able to participate with this organization. Seeing the joy on the kids faces when I showed them their images or let them preview what I was capturing was humbling. Some kids were feeling good, some just had treatment and mustered up the courage to have a photo taken, some were silly, some were serious, some had siblings so excited to get a photo with their big brother or little sister. Some kids had parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters there for support. I asked them to get in a few photos and they did, for that I was thankful.
The Flashes volunteers, and the nurses and therapists were incredible to work with! The nurses brought out a huge box of props and the kids immediately tore through its contents to find capes, masks, boas, and silly hats. I brought along some older cameras for the kids to hold and wonder how people ever waited so long to see an image. It doesn't appear instantly on your phone? Film is still alive and well. One of my cameras still had film in it and a few of the kids used my old Minolta to take photos of their siblings. Their positive energy and excitement was refreshing.
I have experienced childhood cancer deeply and personally. When I turned 9 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia (ALL). I remember being scared, uncertain and worried about the outcome. I had a caring doctor who worked hard to give me the best treatment. My family dropped everything to make sure I had the best care, and my mom fully devoted herself to me. Love helps. Love and support and knowing someone out there is helping you fight. Having faith and trying your best to remain positive in the face of darkness. To have made it through is still a mystery to me, but a constant reminder to do better, and be better. When this opportunity was presented to me, I knew I had to jump on board.
My family photos are somewhere, and when I locate it, I will add a photo of myself during chemotherapy to this collection. During events held for kids fighting the battle; a nurse, who was also a talented photographer, would snap these beautiful candid moments of us and mail our parents prints. My parents would frame the photos and we cherished the memory of a happy event in light of the battle. Jean--wherever you are--you are appreciated and my parents still have some of your photos framed in their home.
The following photos were some of my favorite moments from the session with these young warriors.