This time last year, I donated a family portrait package to be auctioned at the Stella Bella ball, to raise money for Heartkids NSW/ACT. Sandy and Adam won the package and on the weekend I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing them, with their beautiful daughter Jaime, who had stage 3 open heart surgery just before the Stella Bella ball last year.
From the moment I met this family, I could feel their closeness. Jaime’s attachment to her parents is so, so beautiful, and something I can’t put into words. She’s shy and sweet and gentle, and beneath the surface I can see a quirky, creative little soul starting to emerge. I adored photographing her. Her nature allowed me to hold back and do very little but give her space and wait for her gorgeous expressions.
As you know, documenting family life, love and connection means everything to me, and I know that all the families I photograph feel the same because that’s why they book me. But for parents who have experienced the stress and heartache of a very sick child, and an uncertain future, it takes on a preciousness that most of us can only imagine. I feel honoured beyond words to be able to give this experience to this amazing family.
I am sponsoring the Stella Bella Little Stars ball again this year, by donating another portrait package to be auctioned. It’s an amazing cause to support, if you’re in a position to do so – just hop on to the website to find out how. Some of the proceeds from this year’s ball will go directly towards implementing the Little Stars Bead Program for families in the ACT and surrounds. I found out about these beads when I met Jaime and her parents on Saturday. Jaime has had all her treatment at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, where beads are given to children for each medical procedure, as well as at specific milestones in a child’s treatment. Over time an incredible string of beads is created which tells the story of that child’s journey. I was amazed by Jaime’s heart bead necklace… I photographed them as they sat and talked about some of the beads; recalling days and events and feelings… and I was moved beyond words. The concept is incredibly powerful, beautiful and meaningful, and I’m so proud to be able to support a cause that will implement this for families here in Canberra. This string of beads is a treasured possession for Jaime’s family. It represents courage, determination, love and strength. It’s Jaime’s story and it’s amazing. She is amazing.
Thank you Sandy, Adam and Jaime; you have touched me deeply. This is a session I will never forget. xo