A few years back after my daughter flew the coop I had this desire to do volunteer work. I went to Haiti with a group and captured the beauty of the Haitian people. But I wanted to do something more, (and Still do). Something that would last a lifetime to the people I am photographing. To those that can't, well, necessarily afford it. I came across Flashes of Hope in a Google search. I had signed up to be a volunteer photographer and I guess I forgot that I had done it. (I don't know why? Could be my crazy life I guess.) A few months ago I realized that I am receiving every once in awhile an email from Eric Hason asking for volunteers. Who is this guy? I Google him along with Flashes of Hope. He's a great photographer and Oh Yeah! Now I remember! This is what I want to do! I email Eric back a few hours later. He replies, Thanks Jen but someone beat you to it. Ugh! Ok next time I'll be a little bit more speedy. September 6th I get an email from Eric requesting volunteers for September 24th. I quickly check my calendar and bingo! I'm available! I email him back and that was it. I never received a confirmation, so I thought. September 21st I get an email addressed to the photographers signed up for the 24th. Gulp!! I didn't know I was shooting.....check the calendar.....still clear! Thank goodness! I settle into the realization that I will be packing my entire studio up and heading into Manhattan. This is going to be an incredible experience and that it was.
It was The Hassenfeld Family Fun day held at the Armenian Church on 2nd Street. Yes one block south of the tunnel. Need I say more? So many volunteers. I just love seeing the love people have in their hearts and are so willing to share. It makes all the difference in this world.
That day we saw a lot, encountered wonderful families and courageous children. We heard happy stories of children in remission and we learned about circumstances that aren't going to go the way we so very much pray that they would. These parents are pretty much living our worst nightmare yet they find the strength everyday to show up for their children and families. God bless them! They continue to be in my thoughts and prayers every day. And I hope the images bring them joy for a lifetime!
To the children - as Eric put it perfectly "The real Super Heroes" - Thank you for coming into my life!
To the parents - Thank you for showing me incredible strength and courage!
To Eric Hason - Thank you for being so generous with your time, talent and most of all for being the head of the NY Chapter for Flashes of Hope. Oh and yes you did respond quite promptly to my email. I just missed it!
To the volunteers - Thank you for sharing your love!
To Dennis Kleiman - Thank you for putting so much of yourself into capturing a moment in time the children and families will cherish forever.
Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders NYU Langone Medical Center - http://www.med.nyu.edu/hassenfeld/about-us/how-help
Flashes of Hope - http://flashesofhope.org/support-us/donate