A few weeks ago, I was contacted by The Gold Hope Project, asking if I could photograph a "fighter session" for a local family. When I saw the email come through, I was simultaneously excited and saddened. I knew this email meant that I had the chance to use my photography to help someone in need, but at the same time I knew that it meant that a local family had a child who was fighting cancer. I'm always looking for ways to use my passion to bring joy to others, so I instantly agreed to take on the session. The Gold Hope Project quickly responded with the family's contact information and a brief synopsis of their fighter's story.
Camden is a 22-month old boy who is fighting Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma. Camden has been a fighter his entire life. He was born in November 2015 with a condition known as Gastroschisis, which is when there is a hole in the abdomen that gives space for the intestines to be outside of the body. After being treated for that condition immediately after his birth, he was finally able to go home to be with his family. However, he started getting very sick, requiring additional hospital stays. In November 2016, he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. Since then, this amazing little boy has undergone chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation. He has been living in the hospital on and off for the past 10 months, and his mom has not been able to work since he was diagnosed, so that she is able to care for him and drive him back and forth from CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) on a regular basis.
After reading about Camden's story in The Gold Hope Project email and on Camden's Facebook page, I wasn't sure what to expect at our photoshoot. I wasn't sure how long his energy would hold out during our photoshoot, or what type of mood he would be in. I decided to show up without a plan, and to let Camden run the show.
When I arrived, all of my worries were instantly put to ease. Camden is one of the happiest almost-2-year-olds I have ever met in my life. His smile and curiosity are contagious, and I could barely keep up with him! He loved exploring the Reading Museum grounds during our photoshoot, and I loved following him around with my camera. Camden's mom, dad, brother, and sister joined the photoshoot as well, and we were able to get a bunch of great family photos during our time together. My favorite part was just hanging back and capturing Camden interacting with his family members, playing with the signs his mom made for the photoshoot, and waving sticks around. He acts like any other toddler, and just by looking at him and playing with him you would never know the battle that he and his family are currently fighting. This little boy is so full of life, and his light was shining very brightly during our brief time together.
I would like to thank The Gold Hope Project for giving me this opportunity to help a local family in need. Most of all, I would like to thank Camden and his family for allowing me into their lives, and for reminding me of what is truly important - family and love and hope.
For more information on Camden's journey, click here.
There is a GoFundMe campaign set up for Camden here.
For The Gold Hope Project's website, click here.
For The Gold Hope Project's Facebook page, click here.