This one is really hard to write. If you’ve been following me, you know that September is childhood cancer awareness month. I am a volunteer photographer with an organization called The Gold Hope Project and I’ve been blogging about all the amazing fighters I’ve met over the past year. So far, I’ve introduced you to Kelly, Hattie & Amelie. Today, I want to tell you about Sophie.
Sophie was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2016, the same kind of cancer that took Finn (the wonderful little boy who partly inspired my seeking out the Gold Hope Project). She battled like a champ for almost 4 years, when she was called home on August 1.
Our Time Together:
The first moment I met Sophie, she asked me if I knew Finn. She had seen the avocado I have pinned to my camera bag in his memory. The question took my breath away a little. I told her yes, I was definitely a Finn fan. She said “me too” and then went on to tell me how he was her friend and she missed him.
I spent the next hour photographing Sophie and getting to know her family. Her mom, Mary, was so easy to talk to and I so enjoyed the time talking with her. Sophie’s little brother Gabriel is an adorable, energetic toddler who was so much fun to photograph, and clearly adored his big sister.
It was only an hour, but let me tell you, Sophie had an impact on me and I will never forget her.
She told me about her horse and how much fun she’d had with Angel Heart Farms. I was so impressed with her knowledge of 80s movies. We were goofing off and singing songs and I learned that she loves Weezer and we sang the Sweater Song together. Now I think of her every time I hear that song. She was funny, and interesting to talk to seemingly beyond her years, and super strong, and in the words of her amazing mama, the most badass little girl ever.
As I sat in my room crying the day she went to heaven, I thought about how I’d only known this amazing person for one hour. I cannot imagine how her friends and family must feel, and my heart breaks for them. 💔
I knew what I was getting into when I volunteered with The Gold Hope Project. And it is so hard sometimes. But also, I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to meet Sophie, and I feel the same way about Finn. These kids have taught me something I’m not sure how to put into words…that you can find joy in the tough moments, that it’s ok to be vulnerable, and that being able to experience something truly beautiful is worth being afraid of getting hurt.
I’d like to think that Sophie and Finn are together now, taking care of each other. 💪🥑
Where to Read More About Sophie:
The mission of The Gold Hope Project is to gift families battling pediatric cancer with a free portrait session. Photos from the sessions are then used to raise awareness & funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.
Through my work with the Gold Hope Project, I have had the honor of meeting some truly amazing little fighters, and their families. The short amount of time that I have spent with them has changed me for the better. I want to share a little about them with you.
If your child is currently fighting childhood cancer, or is a survivor under the age of 18, click here to apply for a free Gold Hope Session.
I still have a few Fall Portrait sessions left. What are you waiting for? Book yours today.