A few months ago, my friend Kendall invited me to a reception called Cocktails for the Cure. She and many of her friends were involved in the Second Annual fundraising event and look forward to it again in October 2009. It is a night for the ladies to enjoy cocktails, food & conversation for a good cause and the proceeds go to finding a cure for breast cancer. I wasn’t available to attend because we were scheduled to be out of town, but I was able to donate a portrait session. I thought the proceeds of our sitting would be going to a great cause and we would probably get to photograph some wonderful people in the process. Little did I know this experience would turn into something so much more.

A few weeks ago Diane called me to schedule her sitting, and said that her neighbor Jasvina gave it to her as a Christmas gift because she wanted her family to get a family portrait together. I proceeded to chat with Diane about taking the photos of her with her two boys and it was scheduled. As we concluded our phone conversation, Diane had mentioned she was so very grateful that we were taking the photos, she mentioned how much the photos meant to her because she was terminally ill. I was a bit surprised. I just wasn’t expecting that! Diane had said that both her and Jasvina made donations for the sitting because they both thought it was so important that Diane have some photos with her two sons. When I hung up the phone with Diane, I was a bit awe struck at how important my love of photography had just become. I have photographed many people in my career, but never under these circumstances. I thought this is going to be a little hard!

On January 2nd, we met up at Soka University in Aliso Viejo to do the session. Diane & her boys were very nice, as we proceeded to walk to our first location we talked about the Rose Bowl game because they had attended it the day before, they were excited USC won (I was sad Penn State lost, but ya win some and lose some) and Diane said it was a great experience. She asked me if I could help her put her earring in, she has a hard time grabbing things with her “Chemo Hands”. I smiled at her and helped, and thought to myself this woman is so full of life, it was hard to believe that she was sick. My goal with this shoot and every session that we do is for our clients to just have FUN! The family joked as they walked and talked a bit, I told them just relax and be you…have fun!  Diane thanked me for the interaction when we were done, she really enjoyed herself and the moments with her boys.

A few days later I met up with Diane with the photos, we laid them out on the table and she picked some favorites. Here are some of them!

I took this photo of Diane, as we looked at it together she mentioned it would be a great one to have enlarged at her funeral. Yes, I felt some sadness at that moment, but so honored to have photographed her. This whole experience made me feel so amazing. I loved talking to Diane, she had so many stories and so many wonderful people in her life to talk about. I expressed to her my passion for photography and how I loved doing what I do. As I headed home that day, there was a beautiful sunset. I thought… life is too short not to do what you love to do, so I must keep on. Photography truly is a gift to me, I get to make impressions in peoples lives at so many moments in their lives, sometimes even when they are dying. Thank you Diane, for sharing your life with us!

If you would like to participate in the Cocktails for the Cure event specifically, you can contact Kendall at kendallcreative@cox.net or by calling her at 949.842.4872. If you are just interested in donating to the cause please go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.