Shine by Project 139 Photography came to fruition a few years ago when I met Lee Shaughnessy, director of programs at the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation. I had been going through different ideas in my head about ways to "give back" to the community or to a special cause. Right around the time I met Lee, I lost my 19-year-old cousin, Pete to leukemia... This was the 3rd person that was either a friend or family member that had either lost their battle or fought a battle with leukemia, one of which was my dad who lost his battle when I was only 5-years-old. So for this reason and so many more, I wanted to do something... I wanted to somehow give to this cause and I felt that I could use photography as a way to give a small gift to these families that were going through so much. So, I met Lee and started brainstorming ways to give back to kids that are battling life threatening illnesses. We met, and decided I would donate a session each month to a child and his or her family and leave the rest up to Lee... she connects me to the family that she sees fit for the session. I never could have imagined how many wonderful, strong, amazing people I would meet through the process. I can say, it has been harder than I expected... We have lost 2 of the kids that I had the privilege of photographing and I still think about them so often... their smiles will never be forgotten in my mind, and I often pull up their photos and remember the amazing kids they were. These kids are sick, yet still manage to give the most amazing smiles, the most beautiful gestures and always show me just how much strength God can give you in times where you couldn't imagine you would have any! I also can't leave out the parents and the siblings... they are in the thick of it and show such grace and strength.
For the June family, Lee connected me to the Thomas family... I read their questionnaire and knew immediately I would love getting to spend time with them. Sweet, precious Madison is 5-years-old and fighting leukemia. She shows so much joy that it is contagious to everyone around her. Madison and her adorable sister, Olivia are so sweet together... they wore their "Best Friend" necklaces for the shoot and you can feel how close they are and how much they love each other! Mom and Dad (Jason and Dava) are so awesome and were so patient, calm and fun... Such a wonderful family all around and just so great to get to know them a little bit. Madison's smile is another one that I will never forget and I will be keeping her in my prayers as she fights and continues to beat this disease.
Here are a few photos from their session... I hope you enjoy!