Back in early 2012 Camera Chick put out a post on Facebook about signing up to the Mummy’s Wish Foundation which helps and supports mothers who are diagnosed with cancer. At that time I had never experienced cancer within my family but knew I wanted to contribute to those facing great challenges. To be honest I didn’t really think my services would be called upon but to my delight, I was.
Gael contacted me in June whilst undergoing radiation and chemotherapy and was not feeling her best. I could tell, then, after speaking with her recently, that she wasn’t ready for her photos at that time. At the end of November she contacted me again to arrange her photo session. I went to Gael’s house to meet with her and was greeted enthusiastically by 3 of her 4 beautiful children. I have never felt such love walking into a home of a family I never met. What an amazing woman I met. Just 25 years young, with a loving husband and 4 gorgeous children, Rosie 6yo, Huto 4yrs, Ellie 2yrs and Elsie 1yr.
In April 2013, Gael, just 25 yrs old, yes just 25, was diagnosed with liver cancer. She was given just four short years to live and watch her babies grow. At the time I met Gael her cancer was responding to treatment and she was starting to feel a bit better. Her hair had started to grow although it was still a lot shorter than she was used to. The one thing that resonates with me is the positivity of this extraordinary woman.
Gael has since found out, and is now undergoing treatment for additional lesions found in her brain and lungs. With the absolute support of her husband and best friend Willie and their families and friends, we are all praying for the best. Gael, you have touched my heart and no matter what goes on in this world you have shown me that the love of your family can see you through. Your courage is an inspiration to us all and I wish you the best outcome, of course, but also wish that every family can be as close, loving, supportive and present, as yours is.
As a photographer and a mother myself I feel honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know this amazing family and to preserve their memories for the future. This has been a labour of love for me and I am truly humbled by the experience.
If there is anyway you can support the Mummy’s Wish Foundation, please contact them on 07 3103 0649. You can donate to Mummy’s Wish by purchasing a comfort bear here.
It was my honour to photograph your family Gael. You and you family are amazing and I can only wish for the best outcome for you all .
With all my love,
Author: Melissa Hawes