From time to time I stop and think about what it will be like to have children, it completely stresses me out. I worry about everything. Will I have any girls? If so, how much will a pony farm cost? How do you nurture something you love more than yourself without over doing it? Will they be rebels? Will they be half as accident prone as I was growing up? Then the one question that creeps in briefly before I quickly dismiss it, will they be healthy? I can’t imagine the added stress that comes with having a sick child. Everyone is effected parents, siblings, and most of all the sick child.
This weekend I was able to work with an amazing group, Starlight Children’s Foundation. What they do, “When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, the day-to-day joys of childhood take a back seat to the rigors of treatment and hospitalization. For nearly 30 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for children around the globe with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries by providing entertainment, education and family activities that help them cope with the pain, fear and isolation of prolonged illness.”
Face painting was the first stop.
Finally getting to see the work of the face painter.
At times the mesh from the bounce castle was the only thing separating this volunteer from the most adorable mauling of his life.
After bouncing for a while, Miss Teen Virginia stopped by for a visit. Clearly a princess is not complete without a REAL crown, and Miss Teen Virginia was a more than willing to let the girls try on her crown.
Everyone wanted their time with Miss Teen Virginia.
Some wanted the crown, but not Spiderman. He knew what he wanted. Notice him above taking position to make his move, eyes locked on target.
The AMAZING Jonathan was up next.
It was easy to see how much fun the kids were having, but these events are also needed breaks for the parents. Here two dads help the AMAZING Jonathan get on his extremely tall unicycle.
The reaction of the crowd is great, but one person was less than impressed. I like your style Spiderman.
There was dancing. The dance floor was ruled by a stern but fair Queen. She kept everyone in order.
I can’t really stress how much people flipped for the bounce castle…(Side note: one of the hardest places I have ever tried to light/shoot in.)
I’m pretty sure that if her handler hadn’t been there Miss Teen Virginia would have been in that bounce castle with the rest of us, crown or no crown.
Towards the end of the night a group of girls were choreographing a dance, and I noticed this one little girl struggling with her balloon.
From this exchange came my favorite photo of the night. Here, after my offering of help, she contemplates whether or not she wants me to fix her balloon.
The night ended with a few last photos to remind them of better things other than hospitals and medicine.
If you would like to donate to please look at their website, www.starlight.org. You don’t have to just donate money, you can volunteer your time. The strength of all these families is truly both humbling and inspiring. I am thankful I had the opportunity to photograph this event, and I look forward to working with them more in the future.
Here is the whole group.