Earlier this year we were introduced to Ashley who is the founder of Love Not Lost, www.lovenotlost.org. Her experience of having a photoshoot with her daughter who was terminally ill in 2009 led her to paying it forward. We were hoping to help them sooner than later so I was thrilled to get the call a couple months ago.
Here’s Ashley’s recount of her experience with Tim and his family:
“Tim was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago in February, on his son’s birthday. He’s had 4 brain surgeries, including radiation, which caused some pretty severe side effects. Despite all of that, Tim is making the most of the time with his family. We planned our session for the beginning of November and booked our flight to Pennsylvania. When I arrived, there were still some fall colors dangling on the trees and the air was cool and crisp. Tim, Sarah, and their daughter Haley, welcomed me into their home where I was greeted by their two awesome dogs as well. Although the dogs were extremely curious (and a little freaked out about my camera and the sounds that it made), they let me take their picture and even gave some kisses.
We sat in the living room sharing stories for a bit. While we waited on their sons to get home from school, we all walked across the street to hang out with family friends. The kids were chasing each other and goofing off out in the neighbor’s backyard, and of course, I grabbed a few photos. Haley soaks up her dad’s love like a sponge. As a fellow Daddy’s girl, I could totally relate, and wanted to be sure to capture a few of those precious exchanges.
When we thought the boys might be home, we walked back to the house where I met Michael, Richard, and Timmy. I was warned beforehand that Michael was a jokester and that he and Richard (both 16 years old) would be cracking jokes the whole time. I was ready. Laughter is such good medicine and I’ll take as much as I can get.
We all piled in two cars to go to a local park. The second the car doors opened when we arrived, I heard laughter rolling out of their car. The kids rolled out of the backseat and we made our way to a grassy area to start our session together. We took a family picture to get everyone warmed up, and then captured some really sweet moments with Tim and Sarah. Their hearts are huge and their love is strong. You’ll be able to see it in the photos.
Tim was being humble when he said they are a special family that always tries to help anyone in need… In the short time I spent with their friends across the street, they told me how much Tim and Sarah have meant to them and how giving they are. They truly do help anyone in need, including their friends and family. Richard is Michael’s best friend, and when he lost his dad, Tim and Sarah asked him to join their family and made the adoption official. Years earlier and under different circumstances, they had made the same ask to their nephew, Timmy, and officially adopted him into their family. Their family of 6 is a beautiful picture of selflessness and unconditional love. I was so inspired by their family and sometimes have to pinch myself that this is my job. I know it sounds like it can be really hard, and it is, but I hope you can see that I am so lucky to meet all of these amazing families. They will always have a special place in my heart.
As we captured memories together, I couldn’t help but admire their courage and strength… and laugh at Richard and Michael’s comments. I put the two of them in charge of getting real smiles out of everyone 🙂 It worked! We played in the leaves and everyone got their individual photos with Dad. We left the park to go to the church where Sarah and Tim got married to capture a few memories there as well. Locations can play a really important role in photos so we always ask our applicants if there are places with meaning that they would like to go to for photos.”
What an incredible family. It’s unfathomable to imagine what it feels like. We feel so much love for these people and hope for the very best.
Please take a few moments to look at a few image from their session.