It so happened that the day I was photographing my second assignment for Flashes of Hope, across the Atlantic my “little” sister checked into the hospital to undergo her 2nd cancer related surgery the next morning in Germany. While at 46 this is her second “unrelated” bout with this non-discriminating illness, it made it especially difficult because of the tumor’s aggressiveness and the geographical distance. The surgery was scheduled to last about 13 hours and they used all of it. She is currently undergoing radiation coupled with chemo treatment, is in good spirits and determined to prevail and come out stronger.
The photographs you see here show some of the images of the patients and their relatives taken at the pediatric unit of the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital in Hyde Park, IL on 2/20/12. I believe it to be safe to say that they express a wide range of emotions. What I picked up on most once again though and what I tried to convey with my photos are HOPE, LOVE, COMPASSION and COURAGE. And really, for all of us, at the end of the day, truly, …what else is there?
I believe it to be safe to say that, while caught up in our daily lives with its multiple pulls and tasks, we easily loose sight of the very real potential that cancer or other serious maladies can befall us or our loved ones without any prior announcement. And the: “Oh, I can only imagine…” comes fairly easily over our lips when being told that a loved one or a friend of a friend was stricken by held related or other serious adversity. My sense of the truth here is that one can’t imagine that unless one has experienced it oneself or with someone who one truly loves. The experience at Comer’s as well as my sister’s fight for survival have brought nearer to me the simple fact that one has to truly cherish each and every waking moment. I wish all of you who are fighting cancer as well as your spouses and relatives the love, patience, courage, determination, hope, faith and strength that it requires to regain good health.
Flashes of Hope is a nonprofit organization that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and helps children feel better about their changing appearance by celebrating it. Furthermore it raises money for much needed pediatric cancer research. Allison Clarke and her husband Kip founded Flashes of Hope during their son’s successful treatment for cancer. The first photo shoot was held in August of 2001 at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
The organization’s goal is to photograph every child until every child is cured. Thank you for allowing Marian Kraus Photography being part of that. I also would like to thank my assistants and makeup artists who made this a truly rewarding event.
You can see images from the first Flashes of Hope shoot here.