At the age of 7, Filippa is a two-time cancer survivor. Her recovery from brain surgery was helped along by the promise that, as soon as she was well enough, she would get a dog. Well this little fellow is all the motivation a girl could need, and he’s also her best friend. Filippa was a little shy at first, so I gave her some space and photographed from a distance while she played with her mom in the park. Then I started asking her and her mom some questions, and we played some games together. There’s something special about the relationship between mother and daughter, and their love for each other was beautiful to see. Filippa had to learn to walk again after the last surgery, and stairs were still a challenge. She was determined to show me that she could do it with no hands, and it was a privilege for me to share in her triumph.
Though the Essence Vitae Project is now a thing of the past, I have them to thank for the opportunity to meet this very determined little girl and her equally dedicated mother. Several other former Essence Vitae photographers are also continuing to provide free family photo sessions for families that are facing a life-threatening illness, and I hope that we will eventually form a new organization, but until then I hope that people will continue to contact me either as participants or sponsors.