Just about five years ago, shortly before I had my bilateral mastectomy, a bunch of wonderful friends got together and had a local photographer do our family photos on the local college campus. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I treasure those photos, how comforting I found it to wake up after the surgery, groggy and exhausted and feeling like absolute hell, and I saw one of the photos, framed, sitting on my tray next to the big water bottle and hospital TV remote. It gave me energy and motivation (not to mention joy) to see that photo of me and my little family. It was not just a “back when” photo, it was also a promise of what a lovely family I could continue to enjoy, once I’d fought the good fight against breast cancer.
Since then, I’ve had rather a soft spot for families in similar medical situations. I love being able to give others that same feeling of energy, motivation, and joy through family photographs they can focus on during the tougher, darker days of their health situations. It’s how I pay it forward, for what my friends and local photographer did for me and my family. I hope it helps these families even one-tenth as much as my family photos five years ago helped me.
One day earlier this year, I met a friend and her kids at a park with their grandfather, who was a day away from having major skin cancer surgery. He was concerned about the surgery changing his face dramatically and wanted some photographic memories of a happy day with his grandchildren. And that’s just what he got.
I’ve done some other Pay It Forward sessions for families facing big medical issues, and they all leave me with a full heart. Ahhh. Mission accomplished! I know I’m not the only photographer out there with a soft spot for families like this; just check out the links in Week 31: Random Acts of Kindness over at I Heart Faces for a great deal of proof of that. Hurrah!