In February, an acquaintance of mine, Kimberly Rost, contacted Laura Ann Photography because she was in need of family photos for a fundraising and awareness campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Kimberly has some history with the organization and was nominated as a Woman of the Year candidate with the goal of helping to raise money and awareness for LLS. In case you haven’t heard of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, according to their WEBSITE, “LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. We are the voice for all blood cancer patients and we work to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.” After reading Kimberly’s email, I immediately wanted to help her with her goal in any way that I could.
A little back story to clarify – why was this cause so important to Kimberly?
I had heard of her son, Benjamin, and his story before I had met Kimberly. Benjamin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when he was 3 years old. His family lived in our neighborhood and I remember feeling sad and worried for them when we heard the news. When it was discovered, 97% of his blood was cancerous and his liver and spleen were already enlarged. A few years passed, during which time Benjamin endured many procedures, such as bone marrow tests, chemotherapy, steroids and 35 spinal taps. I learned that he had beaten his cancer when he became a classmate of my daughter in kindergarten. The class had a party for him when he completed his final treatment and was declared cancer free. My daughter has been Benjamin’s classmate almost every year for the past 5 years. We have a soft spot for him in our hearts.
In 2016, Benjamin was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Boy of the Year. He and his family helped LLS raise $953K. The Man & Woman of the Year campaign is a high impact 10-week competition between 17 community leaders who are working to raise money, raise awareness, and raise the bar on this campaign to fight blood cancers, with a goal to collectively reach a record-breaking $1 million. This year Kimberly was chosen to participate and has a personal goal of raising $100K. Going through the experience with her son ignited a drive within Kimberly to help as many others as she can.
Just like when Kimberly fought to help save her own son from his disease, she is putting 1000% into this campaign to help others who are in this battle today and who may be tomorrow.
I urge you to read more about their story and make a donation HERE.
Take a moment to scroll down and see Benjamin, his mother, Kimberly, and his family today. Benjamin is a healthy and happy 10 year-old boy. He enjoys sports, chess with his dad, reading with mom and playing with his siblings. These are a few of the images that I captured of this awesome family during our portrait session.
In the time it took you to read this post, another person likely lost their battle with blood cancer. Please help LLS continue to fund blood cancer research projects and more. Donate HERE.