These kids are my heroes.
I had the honor of photographing an amazing group of kids recently for Flashes of Hope, which is a great non-profit that raises money for childhood cancer research and at the same time provides the families with a complimentary portrait session of their child. From their website:
Founded in 2001 by the parents of a child with cancer, we are a volunteer driven organization solely focused on children’s cancer. With chapters in 55 cities, we photograph more than 50% of the children annually diagnosed in the United States.
Since its founding in 2001, we have photographed 31,915 children at hospitals and camps across the United States.
For too many families, the portrait is the last one they have of their child. Thousands of children are waiting for a cure while doctors are forced to use outdated and toxic treatments. Cancer is the leading disease killer of children yet childhood cancer receives only 4% of federal funding for research.
In 2009, we began funding research and have already raised millions of dollars through our Kick-program and other initiatives.
We honor the courage of children with cancer; capture a moment in time and fund research so they will have the chance to create a lifetime of memories.
I was a little nervous as the day that I was scheduled to shoot came closer. How was I going to feel? I hope I can do a good enough job for them. Was I going to be a basket case overcome with emotions because of the unfairness of what these kids have had to endure at such a young age? I just didn’t know what to expect. All that I knew was that I wanted everything to be perfect for these guys.
I was worried for nothing. The day wasn’t sad. It was amazing. It was filled with laughter and happiness. For the younger ones, it was filled with me making goofy animal noises and silly faces to get them to smile. It was, for me, a celebration of their life. These kids are all so resilient and, well, just plain awesome. I can’t say enough good things about the entire experience. Each of these guys have a special little place in my heart. I can’t wait until I get the chance to photograph another session for Flashes of Hope. Thinking back on the day and looking at their portraits, I can’t help but smile.