Archive for the ‘Giving Back’ Category

This was the very first shot out of my camera on Sunday!! WOW! When this is the first one, you know you are in for some FUN!! :)

This beautiful angel is Bailey. Bailey is 6 years old, and will be 7 in just a few months. Bailey is absolutely, positively precious….and I have fallen in love! Bailey loves yellow. She ADORES Sponge Bob with a passion. We had loads of fun talking about Sponge Bob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, you name it! That girl love, love loves her some Sponge Bob. Bailey’s third favorite color is green-I know, becuase she told me. :) She loves to draw and color and is quite the artist-I saw examples! She’s learning to read and spell and has a zest for LIFE that is simply contagious. Bailey is the daugther of Ashley and Will a US Marine stationed currently stationed in Pensacola, FL. She’s the  little sister of Jaymes(8) big sister to Mason(2). She loves her brothers and her Daddy and told me all about them…even though they couldn’t be with us the other night…but I am sure hoping and scheming to do a session with all 5 of them next time those boys come into town!

Bailey and her mom, Ashley are in town for Bailey to receive treatment at St.Jude. She was diagnosed in July 2012 with stage 4 Wilms Tumor (kidney cancer). From July 2012 to February 2013, she completed 28 weeks of chemo treatment, 7 rounds of radiation and recovered from an 9 hour surgery to remove both the tumor and her left kidney. During that time, she also was in a commercial for St.Jude’s Thanks and Giving Campaign with Jennifer Aniston…pretty awesome! Here’s a link to her commercial….soooo precious, y’all! She’s the one in the pink!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QlAmb4t2Rk

On February 22nd of this year, she completed treatment and went back to Pensacola to be with her family. Bailey’s 1st Post treatment scan was May 14, 2013. It was at that time that they  learned she had relapsed, and the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs. In May 2013, this little fighter started a 30 week chemo treatment and will also undergo another surgery soon. Additionally, she will receive 3 weeks of high dose radiation in the fall.

What a little angel, right? :) When I asked Ashley, Bailey’s mom, if I could share some of Bailey’s story, her response to me was as follows: “Bailey is very confident and is not afraid for others to know her story! She knows what an amazing and strong little girl she is!”

And, this is just a small part of who Bailey is. The most amazing part of Bailey is not these “things” but it is in WHO she is. She is a fighter, has a contagious smile, laughing all the time little girl! And this is what we celebrate with this photo session. We celebrate Bailey and all that she is and all that she will be. I celebrate Ashley and the beautiful and amazing mother that she is. These photos celebrate the boys back home in Florida and their Daddy who is carrying on life for them. And, the many people behind the scenes who help, that I don’t even know their names.

Bailey and Ashley…these two ladies are my newest heroes. I have only known them a few days, but they have touched my heart and my life beyond what these words can express. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you and love you! THIS is why I do photography. To celebrate life and love and true beauty!!

“Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon…Some people leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” -unknown

To find out more of how to support St.Jude in their fight to end childhood cancer, please visit their website, http://www.stjude.org/ Bailey and her family will thank you!

Now let’s get to the good stuff!! The photos! :) First up, Miss Bailey and her shining smile!

 

And, now some with this super-strong mother/daughter dynamic duo!! Love these sweet ladies! :)

Untitled-2 Untitled-1 And, this last one, I just love. Sweet Bailey was such a trooper as we played downtown. But at the end, she was tired. She never complained…at all. She simply laid her head in her Mommy’s lap…and knew that she was safe. :)

Thank you, Ashley, for contacting me and sharing Bailey and her story of strength with all of us! I know you are SO proud!

What an incredible opportunity I was given to meet this phenomenal family on Monday! I was contacted by my friend, Ashley (aka Ingram’s mom), a few weeks ago about a friend of hers she has met through their days together at St.Jude with two little 4-year-old boys that are fighting the battle of their lives at St.Jude. Ashley told me that Reid’s mom, Amy, had fallen in love with our city’s Botanic Gardens and really wanted some portraits made there. Ashley thought I might could help and I gave an enthusiastic “YES!”. And, Reid and his family were such a blessing to me! The guys had me laughing the entire time, and I loved how Amy just laughed right along with them. :)

Reid was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma behind his left eye in July 2012 which resulted in the loss of his left eye. He recently finished his treatments including 7 rounds of chemo and 9 radiation treatments. While they were in town last week, he had his first post treatment scans last Thursday. The scans were clear!!!! Though this family lives in Louisiana, they will return to St.Jude every 3 months for scans for one year. Then it will go to every 6 months and eventually annual check ups. What an inspiring example of courage this little man is! And, big brother Wyatt…the strong silent type! He had me laughing the whole time with his funny one-liners and jokes. Mom and Dad, Amy and Lance, are so laid back and easy going. We had a wonderful time just being together and enjoying the moment.

Although we haven’t known each other that long, this awesome family had a way of making me fall in love with their joy and courage and the love they had for one another. The kind of family that we all wish we could be in our darkest days. Lance and Amy, you have two beautiful boys whose smiles and laughter are just the BEST! I know you are so extremely proud of them. Thank you for the opportunity to share in your journey and celebrate  clean scans with you! You have made an impact on me that  I will not soon forget! In reading this quote the other day, your family immediately came to my mind: “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Unknown 

I just LOVE this smile! :) Meet Reid…

And, this next heartbreaker, Wyatt! Precious…you can tell these little men love their momma! 
These are their “tough” faces! Haha!
Dad gets some big smiles, too!
Gotta love the tounge in this next one. Silly boys! :)  Untitled-1To find out more of how to support St.Jude in their fight to end childhood cancer, please visit their website, http://www.stjude.org/ Reid and his family thank you! :)

 

Matthew

February 3, 2010

I debated for quite awhile before deciding on the title for this post. Matthew’s Heart? Matthew’s Smile? But, in the end, I just settled on the title of Matthew…because that is who this post is all about! A bit longer than my normal posts but such an encouraging story!

I remember the session like it was yesterday, but actually it was October 2007. I went to Matthew’s home for his newborn session. As is typical for my newborn sessions, Matthew was only a few days old. His big sister, Lainey, already my buddy from her previous sessions with me, met me at the door with a huge smile and proudly introduced me to her new little brother. Matthew’s mom, Angela, and I worked hard that morning to get some precious newborn pictures of Matthew. I remember how Angela and I kept commenting on the “cough” that Matthew had. I remember us talking it through…just two moms trying to figure out what might be going on with this helpless, tiny baby boy. What it a cold, reflux? Angela told me she was going to take him to the pediatrician again because her gut was telling her that something wasn’t right. Little did she know what was ahead for her little guy.

In Angela’s own words: “Our doctor looked at him for about 3 minutes and sent us to the hospital for a chest x-ray.  The results came back and I received a phone call at 2:30 p.m.  He had an enlarged heart and we were to see a cardiologist first thing Tuesday morning.  After the longest night of our lives, we went to the cardiologist on Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m.  By 1:30 p.m. we were sent to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where we were told that our son, at 4 1/2 weeks old, had Coarctation of the Aorta, which is a narrowing in his aorta.  He had a heart the size of his entire chest cavity; the cough I had been so concerned with was congestive heart failure; and his kidneys were failing.  The surgeon came in about 7:00 p.m. and told us Matthew was going to have heart surgery in the morning. ” Matthew had that surgery, but it was unsuccessful. They needed to do another surgery with a new cardiologist. “The only problem was she had only performed the surgery eight times and only once on an infant.  Again, my husband and I were in complete shock that we would have to have surgery again and that Matthew would be the ninth person to have this type of surgery.  We had faith in our surgeon and doctors that this was the right decision.  Matthew had surgery on December 28, 2007 and had a bypass graft attached on the right side of his aorta.  The graft should be large enough to take Matthew through most of, if not the rest of his life. We stayed in the hospital for almost three weeks.  While there we interacted with alot of employees of Le Bonheur, from cafeteria workers to heads of surgery.  Everyone of them showed genuine concern for Matthew and our family.  We are so blessed to have a wonderful place like Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital here in Memphis.  Their staff, nurses, doctors and surgeons took care of our family and gave us our son back.”

My friend and Matthew’s mom, Angela, has teamed up with some friends to plan an amazing event to help raise funds for LeBonheur. Angela contacted me about donating to their auction and I was so touched. I think this event sounds like so much fun. My daughter and I are going to attend the GenerosiTEA Party and make crafts, dress up, and, of course, have tea with my little princess. I have attached a link here,https://secure.lebonheur.org/generositea/register, for those of you who might be interested in attending. I would love to see many of your faces there to help support LeBonheur.

Wow! Can you imagine? The amazing thing is that Matthew’s story continues. He is now a little over 2 years old and is doing great! I have continued to have sessions with Matthew and so enjoyed watching him grow into one of the happiest children I have the privilege of photographing. I love this family!

So…Matthew’s Heart? Matthew’s Smile? To me, it is all about his smile. Thank you, God, for the gift of Matthew! Thank you for mother’s intuition. Thank you for a hospital full of doctors and nurses in our city who took such good care of him. Thank you for the honor of capturing moments like this…