With Childhood Cancer Day around the corner, Circle of Care is hosting a photography exhibition showcasing children living with cancer and their inspirational stories. Circle of Care is a non-profit organisation based in Wilton, Connecticut, providing support for the families of children with cancer.
Jenna Shepard, previous board member of Circle of Care, is the brains behind this project that she began in the spring of 2014. Shepard spent over three days at Smilow Cancer Centre – Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital capturing 75-100 photos of 22 patients. The end result was a moving and powerful exhibition entitled “There is … Life within the Journey: Beyond the Diagnosis, A Portrait of What Endures,” which is “an emotional and intimate look at the real faces and stories behind paediatric cancer, designed to present a provocative and alternative view of childhood cancer.”
“This exhibit is trying to demonstrate who these children are and how much life there is despite the diagnosis,” said Liz Salguero, who is founder and president of Circle of Care. Optimistic, Bravery, Grace, Trust and Spirit are some of the words accompanying each photo. These words encapsulate the life and journey of the paediatric cancer patients.
A favourite photograph is of 7 year old Daniel, who is posing for his photo by pulling his ears and puffing out his cheeks. With word ‘Defiance’ under his photo, little Daniel is clearly disparaging his diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. “This is to let people know kids are kids. They may have cancer but we want to honour them for all of who they are. That’s why you don’t see pictures of kids with bald heads and IV poles. They’re so much more than their cancer,” said Jeff Kimball, Circle of Care Executive Director.