In my grateful hands, I hold two beautiful, recently published books… both of which contain images created by me! What a heady feeling to see my work in a book! So permanent and official. Please allow me share both of these books with you and celebrate the reason both books exist.
In March, Renee Sendelbach published her autobiography, Renee in Cancerland. You’ve heard me talk about Renee before. She’s a former neighbor turned friend. I’ve done 4 or 5 photo shoots with her, one when she was going through chemo, one celebrating her birthday, one with her gorgeous family after beating the metastatic cancer the first time, one for a Land’s End campaign celebrating swimwear for breast cancer survivors, and others with her art. She has included several of these images in her book.
At the time of this blog post, Renee has been living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer for four years and is currently NED (no evidence of disease). She is unflinchingly honest in her book about her journey with cancer. Enduring three brain surgeries, countless hours of chemo and radiation, and having to relearn how to walk and drive three times, Renee’s strength, faith, fortitude, and love continue to shine and inspire everyone who knows her. Please consider purchasing a copy of her book, Renee in Cancerland. It will humble you and help you appreciate what you have, no matter what you are going through yourself. I am honored to know her.
This particular image graces the inside back cover and is her social media profile image. It has been used by multiple cancer research companies in their advertising, it’s been seen on billboards (!!!) across the country and multiple websites. It is available through Getty Images for purchase (among a couple of others that have also appeared in advertising, including international ads). Proceeds go to METAvivor, the only organization dedicated toward supporting grants for metastatic breast cancer research.
This image appeared in a short film, Every Day is Yours to Win, in a political ad, on a street banner (which Renee shares in her book!), and was used in a Russian campaign called Project Co-operate. It is simply amazing to me that we were brought together to help so many others with these images.
These images were from her family session, before the mass in her brain was discovered. It was really fun to see these photos in her book.
Did you know that Renee’s recurrence of cancer happened the very same day that my friend Debbie found out about her liver cancer? You can read about Debbie HERE. Debbie died one month later and I remember Renee asking about how she was doing just two days before she died. “Oh, she’s been sent home on hospice,” I said. Renee’s face fell and she turned away. She could not talk about that and she did not ask me about her again. I get it now… because I read her book. Please understand what those fighting terminal disease are going through, be a friend, help (don’t just offer), donate, send a note saying I don’t know what to say. But do reach out. When you have love and kindness in your heart, you can’t go wrong.
Then, just this month, my image Ready for Fireworks was published in Capture the Moment by Sarah Wilkerson. This is a guide filled with tips for turning everyday moments into art. All proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Thankfully anytime Anna was hospitalized, we could either stay in the hospital with her or be at home nearby. But if we lived far away, we would have used the Ronald McDonald House. I’m so happy this wonderful organization exists and will be receiving the proceeds from the sale of this beautiful book.
I have always been very proud of this image… National Geographic published it in 2012 as part of their Daily Dozen. In Capture the Moment, my image is accompanied by a tip about using negative space to compose your images. You can find me on page 60. 🙂
I’m usually not comfortable sharing good news of this sort, but I really want both Renee Sendelbach and the Ronald McDonald House to receive the proceeds from the sale of these books. Thank you so much for celebrating with me!