Terminal Illness Photography
For some people, hearing the words, “terminal illness photography” all together sounds out of place. But that could not be further from the truth. I’ve had the honor of working with organizations like Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and now, Quiet Strength. These organizations provide support to families who are experiencing loss, or will experience loss in the near future. In the midst of their tragic circumstances, these organizations provide photography to help families grieve and remember their precious family members.
Pediatric cancer is awful. And to hear that it is terminal is devastating and heart-wrenching. After the expenses of medical bills, travel, and other costs, family photography doesn’t easily cross parents’ minds as to how important it is to have those photo memories. As stated on the Quiet Strength website, “Only later do they fully realize that they will miss an entire lifetime of photos of their child.”
Meet Addie Mae
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and photographing Addie Mae and her beautiful family! Addie Mae is full of sweetness and love for her brothers. In one of my favorite photos from their session, she pulls her little brother over, and gives him a big kiss on the cheek. She is so affectionate and loving, and I know her parents just adore everything about her!
From Addie Mae’s mom:
“Adeline ‘Addie Mae’ Underhill was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (or DIPG as its commonly known) after being airlifted from Sweetwater, TN all the way to Nashville TN’s Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. We took her to our local ER initially due to a couple of headaches and then she had this sudden paralysis to half her face. We jumped in the [car] right then and there and went. After a CT scan, we were told she had a ‘mass’ in her brain. That was 7/30/17. Once she got to Vanderbilt they ran their own tests and told us on 7/31/17 the unimaginable. She was terminal. There wasn’t anything they could do except palliative radiation therapy (Addie completed 30 rounds of radiation) and to ‘go home and make memories’.”
Since then, Addie Mae’s parents have fought so hard for her. They started a medical trial in Michigan in June, and travel back and forth every 3 weeks at their own expense, and all while raising two other children.
Facts About DIPG Pediatric Brain Cancer
- Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, is an inoperable brain tumor located within the brain stem.
- Children with DIPG are lucky to live 1 year from diagnosis.
- Roughly 400 children are diagnosed annually in the US.
- No known cause or cure. So far, there are zero long-term survivors.
- “Leaves kids mentally intact but as the tumor grows, it steals essential bodily functions such as vision, chewing, swallowing, walking and breathing”
Help Addie Mae Fight Brain Cancer
I have been brought to tears so many times for this precious girl. Her story tugs at my heart, and I just can’t even imagine all that she and her family are going through. I asked Addie Mae’s mom if I could share some of the photos and their Go Fund Me page, and she gave me permission. I would love for as many people as possible to give anything you possibly can! Even if it is just $10 – every little bit helps! This disease is infuriating. How can it affect so many people, and somehow it’s found children! Again, please head to the link below and GIVE what you feel led! Here’s the link again: Help Addie Mae Fight Brain Cancer.
400 Children Diagnosed Every Year
Quoted from the ChadTough.org website:
“Did you know that pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of death among children other than accidents, and ONLY 4% of all federally-funded cancer research dollars are allocated to ALL pediatric cancers combined of which DIPG receives zero?
DIPG is a complex disease. Any breakthroughs discovered through DIPG research will undoubtedly benefit treatment of other pediatric brain tumors. You have the ability to help so many children and families!”
If you have the means to give more, this research is so so important. Please give to this foundation as well! Here’s a link again to their website and donation page: Donate to the ChadTough Foundation.
Childhood cancer SUCKS. Let’s kick its ass.
If you or someone you know is going through something like this, I would encourage you to get in touch with me via our contact page, or fill out the form below, and we will be in touch very shortly. You may also get in touch with the organization, Quiet Strength, who has other amazing resources to support you and your family.