Oh where can I start? I feel like the only appropriate way to describe how I'm feeling right now is to explain how excited Olivia gets when she accomplishes something by herself. She stands up and looks at me and says "I dih-yit!" (I did it!) and then she hops up and down and bangs her hands together over and over again while shouting "yay! yay! I dih-yit!"
Her excitement is so pure and innocent and it's so real and she's so proud of herself. That's where I'm at right now. I'm so excited and so proud of myself--I have to share it with you all!
If we're friends on Facebook, you may have noticed me blowing up your news feed with something called Magic Hour Foundation. This is a national charity that pairs photographers with cancer patients and survivors and that allows them to have free photography sessions in order to make sure their memories are treasured for a lifetime. Last Saturday I submitted my application for consideration to participate with the charity as one of their photographers and this morning I received my acceptance email! I was ecstatic to say the very least! While the organization isn't incredibly selective about the photographers that are chosen, they do have several distinguishing criteria that a candidate must meet, and it's so rewarding to be acknowledged as a professional outside of your own mind. When someone who doesn't know you and only knows your work accepts you, you know you've made it! I've had this feeling a few times, lots when I book new clients who have come across my work without a referral from a previous client, and I definitely am feeling accomplished right now!
This is truly a perfect fit for me. Magic Hour Foundation provides sessions to patients who are children and adults, and this was something that was important for me. Most of you also know that I was invited to blog for the Huffington Post in their GenerationWhy section which focuses on how young adults face the experience of cancer (and as soon as I have my login you'll be hearing a lot from me there). Of course cancer is a terrible thing for anyone of any age to face, but I also have an incredibly special place in my heart for young adult cancer patients, as that is what my experience with the disease has been. I was so happy to have found this charity that would allow me to work with cancer patients of all ages.
All of you who read this blog know how much it means to me to be able to give back in this way. You all know my history with cancer and how it has affected my life. Sean always hoped that if his time here on earth was cut short that his story would live on and that those who loved him would find ways to keep the hope that he felt alive in whatever ways we can. And of course, I have Matt with me now, and if it weren't for his battle with cancer and his willingness to face and overcome the disease, I don't know where I'd be. As strange as it sounds, and as strange as it is to say it, my life has been blessed by cancer, and it's not a difficult thing for me to recognize this. Magic Hour Foundation is the perfect avenue for me since photography is what I love. A few months ago, while still in Boston, I was feeling that I wanted to start giving back to my local community and I struggled with finding a way to do this. I came to the decision that I wanted to start donating a few sessions each year to cancer patients and their families, and after looking into how to do this, I discovered that I was not the only one (thankfully!) who had come to this decision and that there were many organizations and charities that I could work with to provide this service to these deserving families. Even though I had found what I wanted to do, trying to accomplish it all right before our move to Salt Lake didn't seem like the right time, so I shelved it for a while until last weekend. I finally felt like I was settled again and in a place where I could start giving of myself. One application, 4 days, and 1 acceptance email later and here I am! What a blessing it is to be able to provide hope to these families in this way that I am able!