Feb 22, 2011

helping hearts | introducing stella maris | whitehorse children's photographer

Earlier this year, I was asked to join the efforts of a handful of very kind, generous and talented photographers in their endeavour to bring healing and joy to families who were in the fight of a lifetime. These photographers have created a resource for families whose children are dealing with a host of illnesses ranging from heart defects, neurological malformations and cancer, just to mention a few. The organization is called Helping Hearts and their mission is to help these families remember an important chapter in their lives with the support of professional photographers who volunteer their time & talent to bring healing.

As the only photographer in the Yukon, my inbox has been receiving far more family profiles than I expected. The first family I had the honor of photographing was that of Miss Stella Maris. Stella was born with Horner's Syndrome. This is a condition that affects the sympathetic nervous system and the most obvious symptom is the appearance of a droopy eye lid. According to the amazing medical team working on Stella's case, it's uncommon to be born with Congenital Horner's Syndrome and the family is currently waiting for the results of an MRI to rule out a tumor in Stella's upper body as the cause. Stella will undergo a series of surgeries to manage the growth of her eye and to ensure that her vision is developing normally but that aside, she was a powerhouse in front of the camera and didn't lose interest, patience or energy. Strong, amazing baby... just like her mama!

There are two other beautiful daughters, Ave Maria and Angellina. The oldest daughter, Angellina was just awarded a full 4-year scholarship to Queen's University! WOW! Also, mom Betty is the proud owner of our small community's only toy store (which is extremely popular!)
What a challenging experince this family is undergoing but their strength and love for one another will keep them ahead of the game. Getting to know them and to create such meaningful, happy memories for them was such a gift for me. I can't wait to see these girls as they grow!

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