Hope in a flash

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Nurse Amy Schroeder, Executive Director Bill Owens and Nurse Julie Waldhart

Once a month, we hold a photo shoot at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin through the Flashes of Hope program. We turn one of the hospital classrooms into our own little studio – complete with a backdrop, special lighting and props (we have found that bubbles are a must). At each shoot there is a volunteer professional photographer, two volunteers and a make-up artist to help the girls and moms (occasionally a boy or dad) get ready for the camera. The mood is light and playful with lots of joking, smiling, laughter and perhaps a few tears here and there. We work hard to lift the patients out of their illnesses for at least a little while by giving them an opportunity to have fun in front of the camera and to just be kids. This all is free of charge for the families.

For some families, these pictures are the first opportunity for family portraits. For others, unfortunately, the photos may be their last. Flashes of Hope captures the beauty and innocence of each patient and family; creating memories they can hold onto forever. Flashes of Hope offers them a look back at the smiles and laughter their son or daughter still had while battling cancer, giving them hope for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Whether there is a teenager hugging you and thanking you for taking his picture with his sisters, or a father expressing his gratitude for the portraits that were taken of his son two weeks before he lost his courageous eight-year battle to cancer, we know that Flashes of Hope touches the hearts and lives of all who participate.

For more information on the Flashes of Hope national program please visit www.flashesofhope.org or flashesofhopemilwaukee.blogspot.com to see our beautiful Children’s Hospital patients. They inspire us each and every day.

— Julie Waldhart, RN, Hematology, Oncology and Transplant