For the fifth year running it was an honor to stand amongst such a show of community and love to share the story of one of the Comox Valley’s brave little souls fighting hard to be healthy during the annual You Are Not Alone (Y.A.N.A) Fundraising Auction. Here is the slideshow I shared (note: turn your speakers up, and wait a few seconds into the show for the sound to kick in,) Friday evening. Below, as requested, I also shared a close version of the introduction I made. Thank you to Brad, Dennyse and Linden for sharing their story with us and to all of you who support this incredible charity.
First off thanks again to all of you for being here. For being part of helping YANA and creating such a beautiful evening, with so much love.
The story I am going to show you tonight is a hard one for me.
I have been part of this little girls life, well, since before she was one. I first photographed her family when they were expecting their first child, Max, then captured them after his arrive, then when they were expecting their second and after she, Linden, arrived, we created photos again. Just before Christmas, we had a family session, mom, dad, brother and Linden – family complete. It is has been a joy to document their dreams of a growing family, and wonderful to now call them friends.
So one night late light year when I received a dozen emails, and some messages,friends telling me about Linden – and how they were about to walk the Leukemia trail, one my family has travelled, I was devastated for them.
Linden’s newborn photos are still on my studio wall actually – and after her diagnosis I kept looking at them and thinking back to when Linden’s parents, Dennyse and Brad were celebrating Linden’s arrival – I recall the feeling of hope, excitement, and endless possibilities for joy.
Think back to when your child was born, remember the vivid,colourful, warm images you had of their future.
But nobody dreams Leukaemia. No body does. You don’t create an image of what will happen when the dr. tells you your daughter has cancer.
But this family, they are okay, they are fighters and they even have a motto, the bottom of their email updates say, “The difference between ordeal and an adventure is attitude.”
Still, it is shocking to me how hard this road is. As I spent time the day with Linden, from an early Comox Valley departure through to a busy day at children’s hospital, what struck me was her mom, how she was “on”.
Of course, as parents, we are are “on” all the time – but nothing compared to do when you are parenting a small child with Leukaemia. The drs, the food cravings, the moods, the emotions, trying to get the medicine in that little bey, it is all coming at you and there is no break- that is parenting “full on”
So when I look at these images, I think of Linden’s brother and what it means for him, I think of her incredibly courageous, brave and vulnerable father Brad and I think of her mother, who on this day just moved me. I have known her through the steps of creating her family, I know this was never her hope and dream – – but really our hope and dream as parents is to be able to love our children, to provide for the them, to make them smile, to keep them safe.
Well Dennyse, along with Brad, you are doing this, every minute of the day – you are loving her, keeping her safe, and making her laugh.
And we are behind you, we are hear to help so you can hold Linden tighter, make her laugh more, and hopefully sleeper better at night.
I know Linden, and I see her joy, her smirk, her spark, it is strong and she is strong.
And we, all 362 of us in this room are behind you, and the other families fighting for their kids right now.
In talking with the Brad and Dennyse just last night – Linden’s dad said he asked himself the question after Linden’s diagnosis – why us? why me? He wasn’t asking why his family had to suffer this fate. He was asking, why, are people showing us so much love and caring, why are they reaching out to Linden, Because, that is what we do, that to me is the Comox Valley.
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