How can you not just instantly fall in love with this little girl!?
I was fortunate to meet Olive and her family through 'Inspiration Thru Art', a non-profit group that connects families with special needs children with area photographers. I knew going in it would be a session I would remember. What I didn't know is how much I would enjoy seeing her love for her dolly and how much she would change before I saw her again.
Our first session would be in 2012. We would spend the day wandering around Mill City before heading into St. Anthony Main. The day would be entirely Olive's as we followed her lead and watched with joy as she played with her special doll, who had the same feeding tube as dear Olive. (Olive was born with a congenital heart defect because of an extremely rare chromosome deletion.)
While she spoke very little during our time together, there was never any secret when she was happy. Her face lit up like the sun and her mommy and daddy brought her so much comfort and love.
Update: I was delighted later that year to learn that one of our photographs from that day would become the principal image for a fundraising campaign for Gillette Children's Hospital. It was very successful and with no surprise.... how can you not to relate to a beautiful smile and the love of one's doll.
Read about Olive at:
- Lake Minnetonka Magazine "Olive Shelso Embraced by a Community of Caring as She Fights Rare Disease"
- Gillette Hospital Website Kid of the Day March 2013.
- Make a Wish My wish is...
- Gracies Room See photos from Olive's bedroom makeover!
- KAAL TV "Surgery helps Minnetrista 4-year Old with Rare Condition Walk for First Time"
I would be honored again to photograph dear Olive and her parents again in 2014. This time we would be headed to the Union Depot. (You gotta love rain!) While she no longer carried her doll, it was a wonderful delight to see her now walking with help from her parents or her special walker.
Memory from the day? Seeing her gleefully play with and chase after my assistant John. A 19-year old US Solder-slash-photography-assistant-in-freetime, John is a handsome young man who definitely seemed to turn Olive's head.
Judging from the day, Olive's surgeries have been a great success and it looks like there is no stopping her!
Go, Olive, Go!