Two years! Two years ago I shared with the world this organization. After months of finalizing every tiny detail to make sure it was perfect. That it honored Leah’s life. That it would be something that would help families like hers. I hope she would be proud of this organization. That she would smile as she looked at each families’ images. That she would ask about their family and how they are doing.
At our second annual Hoopla of Hope event a few weeks ago, I should have been getting the games set up. I should have been filling coolers with ice. But instead, I snuck away. I got out a box of markers. And I sat coloring and writing on white lanterns. These would be laid out on a table for everyone to write well wishes and messages of love. There were seven lanterns. One for each a little rae of hope family that would be attending the event. One in honor of the families we have photographed who are still fighting or have beat their disease. And one in memory of the families that fought so hard but are now pain free in Heaven. I don’t think many noticed the tear stains on the lanterns. But I couldn’t contain my emotions as I wrote the names on each lantern.
Families that are just like mine and yours. Families who were sitting at their table having dinner one evening and in the hospital being diagnosed with a grueling disease the next morning. Families that have fought for weeks, months, or years! Families that celebrated to be in remission only for the nasty disease to show its ugly face days or weeks later. Babies that never knew life outside of hospital walls. Families that don’t technically have a diagnosis but the doctors just tell them they are fatal and there is nothing they can do for them. And then there are the families that we were in contact with to photograph but suddenly things took a drastic turn for the worse and the photos never got taken (those are the hardest for me. A punch in the gut, the feeling that I failed them.)
My dream is that next year I won’t have to write any more names than I did this year. But the truth is, I will. And if I have to, then I want to write every name of every family fighting a battle like these.
There are so many people that have no idea about our organization. They don’t know what we do or what we are here for. So my plea on our second anniversary is that you help me spread the word!!
What we are looking for:
– More photographers! Anywhere in the US. (Indiana is in great need as we push towards our goal of getting materials distributed at Riley and Peyton Manning’s Children’s’ Hospitals.
-Applicants for our board. Yep! We are growing and we need volunteers to serve on our board. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
-A panel of doctors – Because our organization provides free sessions for anyone with a life threatening illness we need a group of doctors willing to answer e-mails on an as need basis to help us determine if the illness is life threatening.
-Families that could benefit from a session of hope. We just ask that you communicate with them first to make sure they want these images before requesting a session on their behalf. We are still growing so we cannot guarantee a photographer in your area but I promise I will do everything in my power to try!
A huge shout out to my wonderful friend Rhonda with Grin & Barrett Photography for coming to the event and capturing the day for us!