Joanna the Warrior

It doesn't matter how healthy you are. It doesn't matter how young or old you might be. Cancer is a disease that when I think about it, I become instantly frustrated because I can't make sense of it. In recent years I lost two amazing Aunts to this horrible disease and it has been absolutely devastating to our family. We miss these two wonderful women dearly and I so wish they could still be here to gain wisdom from, to laugh with and to feel their love.

In my very personal circle, my sweet sister-in-law, my mom's long-term companion and other dear friends have been diagnosed, have been through various types of cancer and are now in remission. Needless to say, I'm all too familiar with how much chemo sucks, cancer sucks and how scary each stage and every doctor's appointment feel like small mountains to climb.

I'm sharing this with you because when my neighbor messaged me about her dear friend getting a cancer diagnosis and wanted to do something to empower her, she asked if she could gift her a Poppi Girl Session prior to starting her chemo treatments, I was blown away by the sentiment (and my answer was absolutely YES).

A few years back, I started these sessions to give women confidence and also as an opportunity to have an updated and beautiful portrait of themselves. I was honored she thought of me and brought my camera to Joanna's home with the most heartfelt, "You will kick cancer's a**" attitude." With each image, I wanted to show her strength, beauty and vibrancy. I had never met her prior to our session and it was an incredibly beautiful experience to connect through this art form and capture her at a moment when the future felt turned upside down. We preserved her will to be an optimist and her determination to overcome life's unjust curveballs. This woman is seriously a warrior, as is every woman I know that has gone through this same diagnosis. She is still fighting her battle and bravely taking on each new moment.

At this time of year when we reflect back on life's ups and downs, I feel this session in my core. I feel my heart bursting with love for Joanna and her family. I am reminded how you have to appreciate everything. Appreciate where you are in life at this very moment because the hard things, the sad things, the happy and joyous things, could change at any moment. Sending you all my most sincere well wishes for health, happiness and gratitude as we end 2017 and begin a new.