Organization Pairs Photographers With Children Battling Cancer For Free Photo Shoot

Organization Pairs Photographers With Children Battling Cancer For Free Photo Shoot

Image via Instagram/The Gold Hope Project

These photographers are capturing moments that will live on forever

The power of a photo is undeniable. As parents, we take countless pictures of our children, capturing certain phases or personality traits, to be memorialized forever. For most of us, these are our most treasured possessions. But for families of children fighting cancer, they can hold an even greater significance.

The Gold Hope Project has made it their mission to connect families battling childhood cancer with professional photographers to offer them free photo sessions and to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer.

The organization was founded by Cynthia Dawson, a professional photographer who lost her own daughter to cancer. Ava was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable and terminal brain tumor and sadly passed away when she was just five years-old. During this photo shoot and now with these pictures, Ava wasn’t just a sick cancer patient — she was a little girl enjoying life, smiling, and laughing.

It is estimated that over 15,000 children ages 0-19 will be diagnosed with cancer every year and close to 2000 will die of the disease in the United States every single year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Thankfully Camilia's prognosis is good. Her cancer is favorable and has a high survival rate. We are hanging on to every inch of that hope. ⠀ ⠀ Although her cancer, pathology results, and so far her treatment have all been favorable, it's still cancer. Malignant cancer that is, and that in itself is a tremendous misfortune and a nightmare to say the least. To see your child suffer and yet you as a parent cannot change anything is beyond painful. ⠀ ⠀ Camila was in pain, her vital signs were out of control so her little body was fighting against the cancer, she was thirsty and hungry but was not allowed to drink or eat anything in anticipation of tests and surgery. She was connected to monitors, IV's, and tubes. It was traumatizing to a 2 year old because she couldn't understand what was happening to her and why…⠀ ⠀ Childhood cancer affects all aspects of your life. Emotionally, financially, and you questions your spiritual beliefs. But now I'm closer to my faith and my family is closer. I have two other boys and they love their little sister so much… I love how they are with her. They kiss her little bald head, they carry her, play with her, give each other the biggest and tightest hugs and seeing all that brings tears to my eyes and warms my heart. ⠀ ⠀ Hope session by @karyn_olsson_photography⠀ ⠀ #thegoldhopeproject #photographerslife #letthembelittle #childhoodcancerawareness #wilmstumorfighter #strongisthenewpretty #bebrave #cancerchangeseverything #survivor #baldisbeautiful ⠀ #kidswithstyle #princess👑 #wildandfree

A post shared by 🎗 Free Portrait Sessions 🎗 (@thegoldhopeproject) on

The Gold Hope Project is also working hard to raise awareness (and funds) for pediatric cancer research. Not only are they capturing the true spirit of these child fighters, they are also a resource for families facing a recent diagnosis and a support in the community for other families who are facing similar cancer diagnoses.

Many families with ill children are emotionally, physically and financially strapped; it is the heart of The Gold Hope Project to take at least one worry off their shoulders and gift them something magical – the smiles of their children frozen in time. The Gold Hope Project’s goal is to make sure that these already over-burdened families have an everlasting documentation of the joy and whimsy of their children while simultaneously raising awareness of and funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.

Kaavya was assymptomatic. We felt a mass in her abdomen at home and took her to the doctor. She didn't get sick all year so we hadn't seen her doc in almost a year! In October of last year she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor. Her treatment plan included a major surgery to remove the tumor and a kidney, and she is now undergoing chemotherapy.⠀ ⠀ It is amazing to see the will to bounce back in children. Her empathy for others going through procedures in the hospital melts my heart and makes me proud. She cooperates with the hospital staff but cries and feels bad for any adult or child in pain….even if she is watching tv… and says "I don't want them to get a poke/ I don't want them to be sad". Her ability to empathize! ⠀ ⠀ Hope session by @lauralynnpics ⠀ ⠀ #thegoldhopeproject #curecancer #weneedacure #fighter #kidsgetcancertoo #wilmstumor #childhoodcancerawareness #pediatriccancer #cancersucks #cancersupport #freephotoshoot #givebacktothecommunity #dosomethinggood

A post shared by 🎗 Free Portrait Sessions 🎗 (@thegoldhopeproject) on

Despite the “astonishing number of children being treated each year – approximately 40,000 – resources specifically for pediatric research and the implementation of better treatments remain largely underfunded,” according to their website. It is up to many private organizations to fill in the monetary gap.  The Gold Hope Project aims to alleviate some of that underfunding by giving grants to pediatric oncology research.”

Cancer has changed all our lives. We can't do stuff a regular family can anymore. We need to be very aware of Adrina's counts before making any kind of plans.⠀ ⠀ Childhood cancer ins't just cute bald kids that get to have their wishes come true. It's being poked with needles every week to have labs done or shots at home everyday after chemo. It's dealing with stomach aches and vomiting and so much more! This is why these kids are heroes. They go through stuff adults can't even handle. Adrina is our hero! ⠀ ⠀ Hope session by @melindarothphotography ⠀ ⠀ #thegoldhopeproject #teamadrina #ourhero #kidheroes #childhoodcancerawareness #baldgirls #noonefightsalone #cancerchangeseverything #morethan4 #cancerwarrior #familyphotography #motherandchild

A post shared by 🎗 Free Portrait Sessions 🎗 (@thegoldhopeproject) on

"As a Gold Hope photographer I want to give families a documentation oftheir moments that matter. I want them to have images that reflect the simple things that are happening in their everyday lives – things that others may take for granted – in which they are so very grateful for. I want them to be able to look back on their images and not focus on remembering the pain and suffering that they went through but instead the love and light that radiated within their family unit." ⠀ ⠀ @luxeartimages is in our photographer spotlight this month. She is doing some amazing things for kids with cancer so hop over to the blog to check them out! ⠀ ⠀ #thegoldhopeproject #nevergiveup #hope #cancertothecurb #leukemiaandlymphomasociety #kidsgetcancertoo #dosomethinggood #givebacktoyourcommunity #photographerlife

A post shared by 🎗 Free Portrait Sessions 🎗 (@thegoldhopeproject) on

If you’d like to donate to gift a session to a family whose child is battling cancer or to help fund research, please visit their website here.