Back in March, the Magic Hour Foundation sent me an e-mail saying they had found a cancer patient in my area who wanted to do a photo session with her daughter. After a terribly rough pregnancy, Kim had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in April 2015, just 7 weeks after her daughter was born, at only 29 years old. She had no family history, no genetic markers; she was a perfectly healthy and fit young woman. What followed her diagnosis was grueling: an immediate colon resection and 12 rounds of chemotherapy. One week after Ellie's first birthday, she had her port removed as her latest scans had shown no more evidence of disease. But three months later, the scans then showed that the cancer had metastasized to her liver and lung which caused her to have to undergo a lung procedure and liver surgery. Earlier this year, she underwent another surgery to resection portions of her liver and diaphragm. Every 3 months Kim gets scans to see if and how the disease is progressing and to determine the best course of treatment. Naturally, this is an incredibly anxiety producing and painful process. In Kim's words, "My little one has given me more strength than I knew possible to continue to fight this beast."
Kim has now been living with stage 4 colon cancer for over 3 years, which left me in complete awe. What an impossibly difficult hand to be dealt, but what strength! Immediately, I responded yes to volunteering for her session. Once we spoke I realized that not only was she incredibly brave, but so joyous and kind as well. Her candor was that of a person who treats time and life with the reverence it deserves. Indeed, her session was one of the most magical I've ever had. Little Ellie's favorite color was pink so we hunted down every shade of pink flower that we saw, touching and smelling each one along the way. Their love was so touching. The best part was photographing Kim showing her daughter how to blow on dandelion flowers for the very first time. When you blow on each flower, you're supposed to make a wish and I'm sure countless wishes were being made as Ellie pulled up every dandelion she could find. Behind my camera I was secretly wishing too, that Kim gets to have many more years on this Earth, so that she may continue to grace us with her strength and light and continue to shower her daughter with love. Kim, you have the warm, delicate love of a mother and the determination of a fierce warrior wrapped up into the beautiful, courageous, lovely woman that is yourself. You are an inspiration to all.
A special thanks to Rutger's Gardens for letting us having our session here. Thanks to your generosity, we had so many private, beautiful spots where we were able to make magical memories that will last forever.