Founded more than a decade ago by a family whose daughter, Alexandra, died of cancer, the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) brings joy to seriously ill children and their families, in the hospital and at home. When families need support, CCA is there with highly innovative programs and resources, available at no cost to those in need across the nation.

I became involved with CCA after enjoying a successful launch of my commercial photography business when I wanted to give back to those who would highly value a photograph. I had a deep longing to give these families an image that portrayed the real feelings they were experiencing. Little would I know that, most often, that feeling was joy.

I have photographed hundreds of families, and it is amazing to see that despite differences in socio-economic standing, cultural practices, diagnosis or spiritual background, all of the families are driven simply by their love for one another. They all have experienced something powerful that leaps across fear and worry, and lands them with their hearts open wide, appreciating any small gesture.

They are grateful for life.

As each child enters the studio, I spend a great deal of time getting to know them. During this time, I am reminded of what little we need. Their eyes lock into mine; they are wise souls, unafraid of lingering eye contact like most of us are.

I try to dispel the notion that we should only feel sadness when in their presence, as they all look for gestures of joy.


Photographer: Joni Kabana / professional

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Award Year: 2010

Non Profit: Children's Cancer Association

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