All my adult life I have been doing volunteer work with kids: literacy training in public schools, Big Brother volunteer, hosting foreign exchange students through AFS (ongoing). Five years ago I stumbled upon Flashes of Hope. The national organization photographs patients in pediatric cancer treatment centers and their families. I am currently the New York Chapter Director.
I was initially attracted to the organization because it focused on two of my passions: children and photography. I had no idea how meaningful our work is to the families we serve. First, it is a fun diversion. We have hair and makeup and make a really big deal to make sure the subjects feel very special. We bring a lot of levity onto the “set” (a backdrop and lighting equipment squeezed into whatever spare space we can find). The families are so grateful for the photos. For the kids who get better, they document a monumental time in the life. For the families who lose kids the photos are loving memories that are cherished.
I started off just as a photographer. I was extremely moved by the work we were doing. I volunteered as Chapter Director so I can be more involved on a regular basis. Usually I am organizing the shoots, booking hair and makeup and a photographer. I love sharing the experience with colleagues. It is incredible how emotional it is for all involved.
Tuesday I decided to take a turn as a photographer. It was a particularly difficult shoot emotionally since I was told that 4 of the 5 kids were under palliative care. The families are so generous with their appreciation and emotion. Lots of love. I am still feeling the effect from the day.
A big THANK YOU to Richard Piana and nuBest Salon for providing hair and makeup bringing all the more beauty into the shoot. Also a real appreciation for all Child Life specialists. Every one of you are angels.