Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is for Angels and Survivors

I get chills as I invoke the help of the angels I have known. This blog is for you. This blog is also for the survivors. This blog is for all the unsung heros…the siblings. This blog is for moms and dads. This blog is for the friends. This blog is for all whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer. This blog is for those that are too scared to speak of this crappy disease. This blog is for me.
Zen Buddhism teaches a concept of “beginners mind”, Shoshin. I guess that’s how I can do what I do. I approach my work photographing those who most deserve to be seen with open hearted eagerness. I ask that you do the same.
View these images with love and empathy but not pity. It’s an additional hardship these kids have to face, making us adults feel better. Acknowledgment is a yes, weirdness and avoidance, definitely no. They deserve to be celebrated like every other child.
Demi, a natural model. A model who just happened to have cancer. I picked up her wig from Make a Wish and we hit the streets. She wasn’t a kid with cancer, she was a beautiful 14-year-old having fun. It wasn’t till we were finished that I saw her pain. A few months later she passed in a place where she felt loved,  Joe Dimaggio Children’s Hospital. Ten hours later, her brother Achilles was born.
I met Rolando 5 years ago when he came from Havana, Cuba for treatment. It’s hard to describe the bond we created. Mine was a very small part of his life journey, but I know that it had a lasting impact. These children feel like family to me.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and it’s crazy that the research is so underfunded.  Please keep that in mind you are fortunate enough to make charitable donations. Two grassroots foundations that I work with are the Jessica June Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Love Jen Foundation. 
 Stephanie’s family is supported by these foundations. Her smile is amazing.  After graduating high school she hung up her dance tights and is now studying to be a nurse. She hopes to work in pediatric oncology. I’ve met many survivors who are in the field. It makes sense.
I have been on this journey for upward of 20 years. Tremendous wisdom and grace embody these young souls. Are they handpicked for a reason? Maybe an admonition to be grateful for every day and for everything. A reminder to not sweat the small stuff? To love deeply? To teach compassion? 

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