a couple days a year I break out the studio lights, a backdrop and I head down to Vanderbilt Children Hospital. Nashville is so lucky to have such an amazing place. As soon as you walk in you are welcomed with bright colors, happy dancing butterfly’s, cute shops, stars.. really a feast for your eyes. You can almost forget where you are, why you are here. Everyday parents come and go with their babies. Some are a few days old, some are almost adults. Some are just here for a test or checkup, some are here for life saving treatments, some stay a very long time.
i live about 25 minutes away. i get up every morning and i forget.
i forget that hundreds, thousands of parents are here in this building, praying, fighting for their childrens lives. how dare us forget, but we do.
there is this amazing organization called, Flashes of Hope, it is all over the US. they organize photographers and hair/makeup experts to come and spend the day once a month. all children with life threatening illnesses are eligible for the free service. they receive a quick makeover (who doesn’t love that) & we spend about 15 minutes photographing the kids alone and with any family members, staff or friends that are with them. afterwards they receive free prints and free digital images. i have to shout out to the Predators foundation, as they are our biggest sponsors and do so much for the kids and families!!
i have to say these few days a year are some of my most favorite. some of the kids are pretty sick and honestly could care less about me and my fancy camera. but they come in and somehow we get some laughs and smiles out of them. some come in with super large personalities and shine like stars, they laugh and make faces and show me their muscles.
it doesn’t really matter. i know that these pictures mean the world to their parents. i know that for some these are the only professional images they have. sadly for some it is the last images they have. i have received letters from parents, heartbreaking but inspiring letters.
all of this to say, what a FABULOUS organization this is, if your a photographer you should definitely look into volunteering in your area! if your a parent, don’t forget. don’t forget how blessed we are to have each day with healthy children.
here are a few from our last visit. such adorable cuties they are. even the shy ones who thought i was weird. (uhwhat???)