I wanted to share a session that has a deeply personal meaning for me. I was recently contacted by the organization House Of Hopes, that coordinates photography sessions for children and teens who are fighting cancer and other life threatening diseases. I was contacted on a Thursday and asked if it would be possible to fit in a session for a 13 year old girl who is undergoing treatment for Ewings Sarcoma. Elisabeth was leaving for Houston the following Monday for intense surgery to remove tumors in her leg and hip. I moved things around to make sure we could make the session happen early Saturday morning! We were planning on shooting out doors but a rain storm moved in so we had a change of plans. We ended up turning on some of Elisabeth’s favorite tunes, breaking out a backdrop and doing her session inside my home studio. I was amazed and so incredibly moved by her fearless attitude! She was upbeat and playful the entire time, even when I could see that she was getting tired. It was a privledge for me to volunteer my time for this session. I wish the Cameron family all the best and will be following along, praying for the recovery of this Little Golden Warrior! Here is her story in her own words…
My name is Elizabeth. I have always been a very healthy and active kid. I started dancing at age two. I have done just about every style of dance you can do. I also did gymnastics for a bit. My mom was very strict about what I ate so I would say I ate fairly healthy. Around Easter of 2015 I woke up with a slight pain in my hip. It went away after a few days so I just thought it was growing pains. Then the last day of school my hip all of the sudden started hurting so bad that I could barely walk. I figured I had pulled something so my parents took me to the doctor to get an x-ray which showed nothing. The next stop was a physical therapists and after a few visits my pain was getting worse. The PT recommended an MRI to see what’s going on. We figured it was just a pinched nerve. Once we received the MRI back it showed a large mass in my hip. I was then scheduled for a biopsy the very next day. One July 6th, 2015 I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in my hip. I was told that I would need 9 months of chemo, surgery and or radiation. I was also told that I would immediately be admitted into the hospital and that treatment would start within days. What followed was many tests and scans, several surgeries, and 6 cycles of chemo.
After all this I told my dad that I didn’t look at this as a bad thing. I look at it as an opportunity for something I have to go through so I can help other kids. I really feel blessed that I have such a positive attitude and a strong family and friend support system that others may not have which will enable me to help them. When I was in the ER there was a little girl around 2 or 3 years old that had cancer and I couldn’t stop thinking about how scared she must be.
After flying out yesterday, I’m currently in Houston now, for the surgery I need to remove this tumors. It requires removing the tumor along with my hip and not replacing it with anything. I will have to live the rest of my life with one hip. I was also told I would not be able to dance again. This upset me because they don’t know me or my abilities and I will show them that I will dance again! “Watch Me!” I may not dance the way I used to but I will dance again.
After surgery I will be here for a few weeks. Once I am home I will be back on chemo therapy and physical therapy to learn how to walk with one hip. I won’t be declared cancer free for 5 years. I will have to get scans every three months to make sure it doesn’t come back. It’s hard to believe that I have endured all of this in only the last few months. Even though my parents are having a hard time, I have learned a lot and I know that I want to help other kids and spread awareness about the horrible cancers that kids are getting. We must find a cure because this isn’t right. No kid should ever be told that there are no more treatments for them. We must urge the Government to give more than 4% of the budget to childhood cancer. We are the future! This is only the beginning of my story. I plan to beat this and do big things.”