Meet Bryce, a “Tiny Light” who shines bright.
Though I always hope the work I do capturing amazing moments in people’s lives is treasured by the clients who hire me, I know this to be especially true in this case, when I volunteered my services for a charitable organization called The Tiny Light Foundation. The foundation was started to help families dealing with difficult diagnoses get beautiful child and family portraits. It’s often not on the priority list when you have a sick child and although we always hope they will get better and be able to have more opportunities for portraits as they grow up, sadly, this is not the case for all…
When I was paired up with Bryce’s family and read his story, I was so moved by his courage. He had been fighting cancer since the age of 4 and had even had a bone-marrow transplant from his younger brother in the hopes to cure his rare form of leukemia. Unfortunately he had a relapse this summer at age 6 and with the future looking uncertain, they reached out to The Tiny Light Foundation since his youngest brother was born after he first got sick and they had few family photos with all 5 members of his family. I’ll be honest and admit that I was nervous driving over for this session. My son is 4 years old and I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to be in his parents’ shoes. The fierce love that is born when we have a child is unlike anything else. There is nothing we wouldn’t do to keep them safe, healthy and happy. Being helpless to do anything must be the hardest thing any parent ever goes through. Luckily, I was able to tell myself that what this family needed was not another person who felt sorry for them but someone who could make them feel comfortable and hopefully laugh a little so that the images captured happy moments and true personalities. Of course, when you have 3 boys, aged 6, 5 and 2, I had some challenges – the 2-year-old was just up from a nap and full of beans, the 5-year-old needed a nap (he fell asleep on the couch before I left their house!) and Bryce was still weak from his treatments and couldn’t stay outside in the heat for too long but he was such a trooper! Though on different energy wavelengths, we managed so get some great moments. I left with a smile on my face and my heart filled with warmth from witnessing the love they have for each other. They truly are one of the nicest families I have met and I wished with all my might that the right treatment would make Bryce better once and for all.
Since meeting this wonderful family in July, I’ve been able to keep up to date on how Bryce was doing thanks to a Facebook Page: Refuse2Lose – Team Bryce. They have put together a team for The Inside Ride to raise money for children and families with cancer. The event is happening on September 13 at 6pm. Last Friday, I finally got around to donating to the team. I then went back to the Facebook page to check for any updates. My heart jumped in my throat when I started reading condolence messages… Bryce lost his fight that morning. I am still so completely heartbroken by the news and it’s been a struggle to write this post.
Though I only got to know him and his family for a short time, when you photograph someone and they are looking right at your lens, there is a connection made. There is also the time you spend editing images. Their faces, his face, forever imprints. I will never forget his beautiful blue eyes and sweet smile or infectious giggle.
Along with all the wonderful people who have helped Bryce and his family, all the nurses, his doctors, extended family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, fellow-cancer fighters and even strangers, I hope that my small gesture of capturing a happy day at home with his family will give them comfort during this incredibly difficult time. And for anyone reading this who is touched by his story, there is something you can do too! Bryce was incredibly competitive and loved sports and video games. Let’s help Bryce’s team win The Inside Ride for the most money raised! They’ve already surpassed their original goal so they have upped it. I hope my post can reach a lot of people and help this Tiny Light shine bright and help other families dealing with cancer. Please share this post!
Thank you Bryce! You were truly a gift and I’m so honoured to have met you and you family!