Last night was actually the first time I had met Brandilee and & Dan, but I’ve known their oldest son, Gavin, for several years from my daughter’s school. I’m at school quite a bit volunteering with the PTO and have gotten to know Gavin through my time there and he is such a sweet boy. My first experience with the rest of Gavin’s family was this past May at the Special Olympics. Gavin has Cerebral Palsey and was competing in one of the races. I had been asked to photograph the event as a whole, but was of course drawn to events where our own Cheetah’s were competing, so I was focused on Gavin’s race. As he started getting closer to the finish line, Gavin started having a little trouble when his two little brothers came in to give him a hand. It was the sweetest moment, and the three of them just won my heart right then and there.
It wasn’t until after the race that I learned that Gavin’s two-year-old little brother Finn was battling a rare form of bladder cancer. I have followed their story since then through posts from mutual friends and through their blog. You can read more about their journey on their blog, “Finn’s Fans”.
In the past, I had photographed a few other families dealing with childhood cancer, and it was good to feel like I could do something for them, no matter how small. (If you remember those sessions, you may want to know that little Arya is doing great and Katelyn is about to finish up her last chemo treatment!) So I was really excited about the opportunity to finally meet Gavin’s little brothers and his sweet parents.
Finn recently had surgery to remove his bladder and the surgery was a great success, but his fight is not over. He will be starting chemo again soon to fight any remaining cancer cells that might still be there. I am glad we were able to fit in a session before chemo started for him again.
It was a perfect evening for a session and it’s finally starting to feel like Autumn. We played with the leaves and the boys were particularly fond of gathering sticks. Four-year-old Everett even made a really cool fire pit with his sticks. I think he’s probably on his way to a position in the boy scouts. My favorite moment was when I asked the three boys to race towards me for a photo, and when we said go, Finn took off in the opposite direction. Gavin thought it was pretty funny too.
The courage & faith with which this family fights their battle has been very inspiring to me, and to many others who have been praying for them. Please keep praying for Finn and his family as they continue on this journey.