A few months ago I was approved as a “Flashes of Hope” photographer. To say I was beyond excited would be an understatement. Since learning about this incredible organization a couple of years ago, I have been attempting to join them, but at the time they didn’t have any open slots. So I waited…and I learned more about “Flashes”.
Founded in 2001 by the parents of child with cancer, Flashes of Hope is a volunteer driven organization solely focused on children with life threatening illnesses. There are chapters in 55 cities across the country and according to the website, Flashes of Hope photographers have photographed over 39,000 children at hospitals and camps across the United States since its founding. More from the website:
“For too many families, the portrait is the last one they have of their child…cancer is the leading disease killer of children yet childhood cancer receives only 4% of federal funding for research.”
Therefore, Flashes started a fund-raising initiative in 2009 and has already raised millions for childhood cancer research.
Our local Flashes chapter is based at Vanderbilt Children’t Hospital. The volunteer coordinator told me upon arrival the children coming for portraits could be in- or outpatient in the clinic for treatment. We were encouraged to invite any family members present to get into some of the portraits as well. Nicole (my assistant for the day) and I decided right then and there that we wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.
These precious children and their families truly touched my heart. We don’t know many of their stories, but picked up bits and pieces: one just starting treatment…another in his fourth year of treatments who had never agreed to have a photo made before…a girl who had just celebrated her 12th birthday–and had to get chemo that same day…a superstar swimmer…no matter what they were going through, each sat in front of my camera with a big smile on their face; aside from ports and tubes they looked deceptively healthy.
I am honored to share a few of the images I captured with you today. If you would like to know more about Flashes of Hope, you can check out their website: flashesofhope.org I pray these images are forever treasured by their families and I look forward to the next time I get to photograph more children in the program.