Some of you know that aside from photography, I also work at our pediatric hospital here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love working with the doctors and nurses that save so many little lives each day, and I’m grateful to see and learn about every single one of the meaningful moments, big and small, that collectively make our hospital so important. From the volunteers to the bedside staff to our directors, everyone is there to make a difference. And from time to time, I get to pull out my camera and capture moments for families. Some of those moments have been the happiest in my life, others have been some of the more difficult. But each time I get to help a family remember one another in just the right moment.
Each year of my photography journey has been different from the last. While I still photograph maternity mothers, newborns and families, I’m always searching for ways to keep my soul growing. And during a recent photography workshop, the perfect opportunity arose. You see, the educator from the workshop is based here in Michigan, and several years ago her son was diagnosed with cancer. Even though they live in the Upper Penninsula, they sought treatment for their son at a pediatric hospital in Grand Rapids, MI – Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. I was wonderfully bewildered at the coincidence! During her son’s treatment, she learned of The Gold Hope Project, a non-profit that offers free portrait sessions to families fighting pediatric cancer. Volunteer professional photographers throughout the country offer their services to bring a bit of joy and HOPE to these little fighters and their families.
My soul sat up straight; I applied the next day.
And just a few days before Christmas, I received one of the best emails I’ve had all year: my acceptance as a Gold Hope Project photographer.
It’s no cure for cancer, but when we all do what we can, the world is a much better place to live in.
Here’s to 2023!