Sunday I attended & photographed a very special event. The Western Roundup hosted by PCRF (Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation) is a western-themed carnival & picnic intended to provide a fun day for oncology kids & their families. Activities included carnival games & rides, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides, live entertainment, a raffle, a bouncy house, lunch & lots more.
If you are new to my blog, I am a pediatric cancer survivor myself. For so long I didn't identify with being "a survivor," it was something I wanted to get so far away from & forget that I didn't consider it a part of me. I was happy to be alive, but because I didn't have a choice of enduring cancer, in my mind it wasn't so spectacular that I overcame it. Well that feeling changed. I am not sure what exactly triggered that transformation in my mind but at some point something clicked. Now being a cancer survivor is just a part of my identity, no less than having green eyes or loving photography. I am also proud of how far I have come & I believe I am meant to use my experience to help others.
Seeing all these kids having fun & taking their mind off being sick was so special to me personally. It has been 11 years since my diagnosis but I can remember like it was yesterday the way I felt. The constant hospital stays, procedures, blood draws & transfusions & feeling sick constantly. It is not fair that these kids have had their childhood stolen from them, so it touched my heart to see them play, laugh, smile & just be the kids they rarely get to be.
I hope that all these kids will survive & experience all life has to offer. I hope they too can someday be proud to call themselves a survivor. I hope that I can make a difference by sharing my story & giving current pediatric cancer patients hope.
I haven't finished looking at all the photos from the day but here are a few of my favorites so far.
There was a dove ceremony at the end to honor those who didn't survive or those who were too sick to be there. For more info about PCRF or if you have any ideas for ways I can help by sharing my story, please feel free to contact me! & hearts; ♥