I had a special session this weekend with a beautiful family going through a very difficult time. Robert was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December of 2010. He has been in and out of the hospital for the past 7 months, and he is only 6 years old. This time last year Robert was fine....Cancer doesn't discriminate...Cancer doesn't care. I almost lost one of my best friend's to Acute Myleoid Leukemia at 25 years old. I am so happy to report that she has been cancer free for 10 years...love you Mitzi! When I heard about Robert through a mutual friend I offered a free session for the family, since I am sure a photo session was the last thing on their minds. I wanted to capture the real fun loving Robert and not his sickness.
When I first met Robert he started off by telling me about his brother and sister...oh and his Transformers; then that sweet boy told me he had a port- a port is a surgically inserted IV that stays with the patient until treatment is over. It is used to administer chemo and other drugs without an IV or needle sticks. I just looked at his precious face and said "I know baby, and you are going to get better". That was it we never spoke of his sickness again. He was just ready to enjoy the morning with his best friends...Ben and Allie. Even when Robert got tired due to heat...he was still ready to have fun...we just improvised and that is how we got the picture below.
Ben is 3 years old and a little more reserved (at least with me). Once he got a chance to play he started to loosen up and smile.
Allie is 1 and is such a sweet baby. She seems to fit right in with the boys...no matter how rowdy they get. The boys do take extra care when Allie is around, and I can tell they will be her protector for years to come. Both Ben and Allie look up to their big brother, and I know it is so hard for them to watch Robert in pain. You have to wonder what is going through their minds. Life has definitely changed for not only Robert, but for his little brother and sister who are also coping with this disease.
I guess what I was most impressed with is that this little kid doesn't feel sorry for himself, he doesn't look for attention, he just wants to be a regular kid playing ball and running around. Robert was able to graduate from kindergarten at Spout Springs Elementary a few weeks ago even though he had been in the hospital for much of the month of May. Robert began treatments again this week, so this will be a tough few months for him.
As you can imagine on top of the emotional strain this disease brings, managing financially can bring another challenge with frequent hospital stays, in-clinic treatments, specialist visits, lab work, medication, days out of work for his parents...can be pretty overwhelming. If you are interested in helping this family or reading more about their story you can visit their blog at http://rathat04.blogspot.com/ . If you find yourself with a free moment today, please pray for Robert's comfort and no fever, for Ben and Allie, and then strength for his mommy, Kasie and his daddy, Bob.
Stay strong Hart Family, I look forward to seeing you all again soon.