I love volunteering for the Gold Hope Project and capturing these special memories. When they reached out and told me about Vera, I was immediately excited to meet her and her family. I think it is so very important to give back and donate my time to capture those special moments for them, as I know what a big financial hit it is when you get sick in this country. Truly heartbreaking! The last thing someone should have to worry about are medical bills, but that is a whole other story, I probably should not get into in this blog post. So, let’s talk about this brave little girl and her story. Let me share what mom wrote about her:
“Vera is an independent, smart, hilarious, beautiful, brave, and courageous little girl. She loves the color teal, anything sparkly, rainbows, unicorns, fashion, and anything ‘girly”. What makes Vera laugh the most is her older sister, Tessa. They crack each other up! In the fall of last year, Vera had occasional left upper arm pain with no abnormality in x-rays. After seeing a pediatric orthopedist, having an MRI, and then having abnormal findings, she had a bone biopsy. That came back as a blue cell tumor and she never had any abnormal blood-work results. Referred to a pediatric oncologist, she did a bone marrow biopsy from her hips, and that’s how they found the leukemia (lymphoblats) cell. Chemo started 3 days after diagnosis and port-a-cath placement. Since diagnosis, she receives intravenous chemotherapy every week or two, oral chemotherapy intermittently, and spinal chemotherapy every 1-4 weeks. We struggle financially with the cost of insurance deductibles and medications. I also had to quit my job to be with Vera 24/7 because she can not return to school yet at this point in her treatment. So we are a 1 income family. Every single part of our lives has been flipped upside down and we’ve endured pain that no human being should ever have to feel.”
I am already crying again reading this, and it just breaks my heart. HOWEVER, little Vera has the most amazing loving family and that is such an important part on her journey to getting better. When I planned their session I know that they like us to incorporate “gold” into our session so I found these adorable dresses at Dollcake and just had to buy them for the girls and their session. I wanted them to feel truly special and amazing. And they did love them very much! How cute is little Vera with her hands in her pockets??? I then reached out to my favorite florist in town, Fleurescent, and Elizabeth the owner agreed to make them these adorable hairpieces and donated them to the girls. Blown away! Then I reached out to our hair dresser here in town, Hair House, and they were willing to donate a blow out to big sister! I love the beach curls they gave her, just perfect for our session at the beach.
We met by the beach and though it was a pretty windy and cold night, we had such a blast. The girls were so excited to have their pictures taken and mom watched them in awe.
I was so excited to deliver these images to mom because I knew she would really treasure them! So I reached out to my friends at Artsy Couture and they donated this beautiful canvas to them! I can tell you they were sooo surprised when they came and picked it up! So grateful to everyone that helped make this session so special for these adorable girls and their family.
I also want to give out a special shout out to my grandma Vera who died of cancer when I was a little girl. Love you always gram. Oh and EFF you cancer. All the best to everyone affected by this disease may you all be on your road to recovery. The Gold Hope Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that facilitates photography of fighters and survivors of childhood cancer. They help children (infant – 21 years old) diagnosed with cancer of any form. No matter the prognosis, the fight is still waged and they support you, this includes those that have won their battle with cancer. If you want to apply for a fighter session click this link. If you are a photographer and want to donate your time and talent, please sign up via this link.