You never know what life is going to hand you. As a nurse, I see families needing to deal with things that that I wish no one ever had to deal with. I see that, in an instant, your life can change. I thank God every day that my children are healthy, and I pray that they stay that way, but I know there are so many families out there with very different realities. That is why, when I saw an outreach for someone to take on a volunteer session in upper Michigan for The Gold Hope Project, I did not hesitate.
The Gold Hope Project was created to gift portrait sessions to families with children battling cancer. It was inspired by a little 5 year old girl named Ava, because " Because all families touched by childhood cancer deserve moments . . . filled with happiness and HOPE." (Read more about Ava's story here.) Not only do these sessions create beautiful, lasting memories for the families involved, but they also bring awareness to the different types of cancer and how others can help.
The fighter I had the privilege to capture was Kalan - a sweet 8 year old boy, in remission for 2 years from his Wilm's tumor. Kalan continues to require check-ups in lower Michigan every 3-6 months, and this is an 8 hour drive - difficult both time-wise and financially. He remains self-conscious of his scars, but is a happy, energetic young man and wants to do everything he can to help other children in similar situations. His family had never before been able to have family pictures taken, and it was absolutely my honor to offer them this.
The similarities between Kalan and my own son really brought this session close to home for me. Kalan is what we nearly named my own son, they are very nearly the same age, and they both love Pokemon and Legos. Kalan's diagnosis could just have easily been my own son's, or anyone else's. That fact breaks my heart. It makes me hug my own children a little tighter, and not take a day for granted. It makes me grateful that I am able to help even in this small way.
So, meet Kalan, a true fighter. And if you would like more information on The Gold Hope Project - if you are a photographer who would like to volunteer, or you or someone you know could benefit from a session through this organization, go check out their website The Gold Hope Project.