This shoot was perhaps one of the most important sessions I've ever done. I have permission from Heather to share her story with you, in hopes that it will inspire other women... mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, friends, to approach whatever challenges come their way with hope, strength, grace and peace. To celebrate your life as it stands today, and to keep hoping. To keep pushing.
Heather was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She called me within a few days of receiving the news with an urgency and a desire for a photo session to celebrate her body and respectfully honor it at this time. I was grateful and humbled that she chose me to help create these photographs for her, and my hope is that they will uplift her during this time, and years from now.
I was so proud of her strength and grace throughout the session! We talked about being comfortable with our bodies and the strength within them; how life takes you on a journey and your body is the vehicle that carries you.... you go from being 100 pounds soaking wet when you get married, to pregnancies and births and the changes each milestone brings to your body. You spend months or even years loving and hating the skin you're in, your weight, your shape. But after a while you gain confidence in your body and accept and cherish it for its amazing capabilities to not only carry you through life, but also to perfectly nourish your babies, to help you work and walk and move and do and be. Heather has finally accepted her body, complete with flaws and miracles, however with her diagnosis comes the reality that her body with certainly change again in some way, depending on which treatment option she must undergo. It is my hope that these images will make Heather smile and be hopeful ~ if not today, understandably, then maybe next week, next month, or next year. That's the wonderful thing about photographs. They last forever, even when your life seems to change and evolve and leave those times behind.
In the same vein, I want to make you aware of a very important local event happening here in Tampa tonight, benefiting All Children's Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center through Cure on Wheels (which has donated more than $50,000 to cancer research in just two years!). The 4th Annual Crack up Cancer Comedy Show will be held at The Improv in Ybor City. Taken directly from The Improv's website:
"The 4th Annual Crack up Cancer Benefit comedy show benefits that innovative research and 100% of the profits made from the event will go directly to that end. The benefactors of this fundraiser will be Cure on Wheels. The 4th Annual Crack up Cancer Benefit will take place on Wednesday June 16th, 2010 @ 7:30pm. The event will feature three local and regional comedians, including Master of Ceremonies, Mike McCarthy (The Comedy Barbarian) and a performance from the BILL OHSE and AL ROMAS. The bar will open at 6pm, and show seating begins at 6:30pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the night of the show."
You can purchase tickets in advance by visiting www.improvtampa.com or you can purchase them at the door. Can't wait to see you there!
While you're at the show, make sure you enter the raffle to win a free session and 8x10 print from Stacey Woods Photography. It's a $415 value, so don't miss out on the opportunity to make some beautiful memories of your own. Several other fine local business and organizations have donated all sorts of amazing items to CUC's raffle as well.
The founders of Crack up Cancer are also some of my very favorite clients. Jack and Brittany Bevilacqua are very passionate about finding a cure for cancer in our lifetime. They strongly believe in everything they're doing to help aid cancer research and awareness. And so do I.
Heather, we're doing this for you too! My prayers are with you this week. Know that you are not alone, and that you have many people pulling for you and believing in you and that we have faith that you can beat this disease. It was an honor to spend the morning with you, and getting to know you a little better. xxoo