Heroes Like Haley

A lot of you may know story behind Heroes Like Haley, the brave girl from Cary who sadly lost her battle with brain cancer on January 15, 2015.  For those of you who don't, I would love for you to read a little more about her story and follow all of the wonderful things her amazing momma does through her new foundation, Heroes Like Haley. I met Haley and her Mom Misty through a giveaway I started last year which I named Bella Giving, meaning beautiful giving.  My amazing neighbor and friend nominated Haley and her mom for a photo shoot and through all of the nominations theirs never left my mind.  Looking back I am so incredibly happy I chose them for my giveaway.  I do not feel like I gave them anything, rather they gave me so much.  I am completely in love with Haley, her mom and their entire family.

When I heard about the Inaugural Heroes Like Haley 5K, Misty initially asked me to photograph the event but I wanted to do more.  With wanting to get myself back into shape after having my 2 daughters I thought it would not only be a great way to do that but a great way to raise money and help a wonderful cause.  So I asked Misty if she would mind if I ran rather than photographed the event and she gladly said yes!

With that I started eating better, training and fundraising.  I would run and think about Haley and what she wouldn't give to just run one more day and that kept me going when I wanted to give up.  I was someone who never enjoyed running so to hit my longest run of 3.4 miles was a huge accomplishment for me and I truly hope I made Haley proud.  I had so many proud donors for the race, one in particular donating $500!  A special thank you to Courtney Clark for her generous donation.  I also want to say thank you to Alisha Capeless of Matilda Jane Clothing who not only donated $100 but also hosted a trunk show with me donating all of her commissions from that day totaling an additional $80.  I had a fun day of mini sessions at my Libertyville studio where all donations went to the Heroes Like Haley 5K!  With all of this it helped me come in 2nd place for fundraising raising a total of $940 raisied individually with my team raising a total of $1360!!  Not only did we do all of this but I actually finished the race and in not such a bad time either!  My official time was 30:24.1 finishing 88/371.  NOT BAD, huh?!  I cannot thank my team mates enough (who finished with amazing times) for meeting me at the finish line and running the last few feet with me.  That was so motivating and made me super emotional.  Having the support of others is so amazing and so necessary!

I know that I have found my passion in life, my love and my art.  Photography is my happy place.  Giving is my happy place.  I am so blessed and proud that I have found a career that I not only love but that can allow me to give back.  I will continue to do my Bella Giving giveaway but with a new name.  It will be renamed for Haley.  I am still coming up with ideas and working with her mom on the perfect name.  I cannot wait to share this with all of you.  I also cannot wait to share with all of you who my 2015 recipient will be.  I have already reached out to quite a few families this year who I feel are deserving of a family session and this is something I will always continue to do on top of my annual giveaway.  Photography is a gift that can be cherished forever and the fact that I have to ability to give this gift is priceless and I am so blessed for that.

Thank you to Haley, Misty and your entire family for helping me discover how blessed I truly am.  I cannot wait to continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting pediatric cancer everyday.  I love you all and Happy Birthday Haley!


Photo credit: Nikki Dzierzbicki Photography