• Giving Back,  Personal

    Why I Relay for Life 2013

    I’ve been avoiding writing this post, because I struggle with articulating just how much the Relay for Life means to me and to all who participate in this event. You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way.  Some more than others to such a devastating extent that it keeps me up at night questioning “why”.  There of course is no rational explanation to the whirl wind of destruction that accompanies cancer.  It’s an entity unto it’s own…a dark presence that invades and seeps into daily life you can’t seem to run from like one’s own shadow.

    When I see the pain of a cancer diagnosis within my friend’s families, there are a huge range of emotions…from empathy, to sympathy, to helplessness, to understanding, yet there are also feelings of guilt because we as a family have been blessed with good news regarding my father’s cancer journey. While we are over-the-moon happy about his recent test that revealed his levels are close to zero, there is so much cancer within several friend’s lives that within our gratitude and bliss we also wish and pray that they too receive the same positive news.  And this year has brought with it heart break, as I witnessed my friends suffer through indescribable heart ache as cancer ripped apart their lives through the loss of mothers and fathers.

    I pray for HOPE because purpose lives within hope. Every year that has passed since cancer invaded our peaceful family life, I’m shocked at how it has changed us all. How it contorts and alters the way we view life. There are positives within that change of mindset; there is much understanding and love when you can look into the eyes of a loved who is suffering through an all too familiar pain. So yes, there is power within understanding and healing within support and sharing.

    It serves as a reminder to cherish this crazy ride called life and to show a ridiculous amount of love to others. It also lights a fire within my heart to do something, anything to fight the cancer demon. The only way I can find purpose within cancer is to walk in the Relay for Life to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer. I’m honoured to once again document the event through photography as well.

    I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all the donations that have poured in on behalf of my father (and on behalf of your own loved one) over the past couple of years that I’ve participated in Leduc’s Relay for Life. Every single donation made is passed on to my Dad through our conversations and I get to share your stories of strength, devotion, and kindness along with who you are as a person. Here’s an example of our conversation: “Guess what Dad, my friend Jackie just made a donation to Relay for Life, she’s a spitfire of a girl. Mom to 3 active girls who talk her ear off.  She actually bakes the things she pins on Pinterest. (insert 10 minute conversation explaining what Pinterest is). She’s a kind-hearted woman who has suffered through her own loss within her family because of cancer. She’s supported you with a generous donation today.”  For a lover of stories like my Dad, that’s a pretty big deal and he calls often for updates. 😉  So if you have donated to my pledge page, please know my Dad knows you by name and he’s invested in your life simply because of your kindness and generosity.

    This year I relay once again in Memory of my brave and strong Aunty Lorraine and my dear kind friend Chris.  Missed so…

    I relay in honour of my childhood friend Tara who is battling Breast Cancer. Even in the face of the biggest trial of her young life, she forges on with positivity and such strength of spirit that it brings me to tears. I’m so proud to know her.

    I relay in honour of my Aunt Elda who is laying in pain in a hospital bed after surgery to remove cancer from the body she’s always taken such good care of.

    I will be relaying on Team Hier Power this year. Team Hier Power has raised over $10,000 every year in Leduc and they do so in memory of my friend Cheryl’s husband Jon. I can feel his memory & spirit within Cheryl’s eyes as she reminisces their time cut short. She loves him with no boundaries. Their kids are so beautiful, and they walk along side of their Mom. Cheryl’s heart is huge as is her passion and determination to raise funds.

    And of course I relay for my kind-hearted Dad.  His PSA levels are almost zero and his new treatments are working well.  Thank you God! When the doctor shared the latest test results with him he told me he just sat and cried with gratitude.

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    This past couple of years that Dad has been battling cancer has felt like a fog, It’s also served as a lesson in love, a test in faith, and the immense strength of the human spirit.

    I have set a fundraising goal for this year’s Relay for Life held on June 14th in Leduc, Alberta and I need your support! We can make a difference my friends, there is no amount to small. How much money do we spend on coffee, suppers out, movie nights, clothes…why not donate even a little towards finding a cure for cancer; a disease that affects us all in some capacity. We can make a difference, every fibre of my being believes we can. Every penny helps and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the support.

    Let’s join together to make cancer history.

    To donate, simply click this link: http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/chrissyhopaluk

    Thank you so much for reading my post, sorry it was a bit of a novel! 😉

    From my heart to yours,

    Christine

  • Children,  Family

    Meeting Ryker

    It’s been a few months since I photographed A.’s maternity session, so I was happy to hear from her to book a family session to meet baby Ryker who will already be one this October.

    I thought it would be cool to revisit the same location to do a comparison shot of life just a few months ago, and life today.

    Their love has expanded by one little boy and they adore him…

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    With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, the focus of our session was not only on their relationship as a family, but also on their individual relationship with Ryker. They are both very connected to their little boy, and there’s something so special about the first year celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day.

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    Thank you so much for asking me to photograph your family again. I can’t wait to see Ryker smash his cake for his one-year cake smashing shoot!

    From my heart to yours,

    Christine

  • cake smashing,  Children

    Reina’s Cake Smash

    Meet sweet little Reina…

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    Isn’t she a doll?! She brought along a special outfit that her Daddy bought her…

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    After a couple of outfit changes, Reina spotted her beautiful birthday cake (made by “Once Upon a Cake” in Leduc, AB). She was so excited to dig in, and it was all her Mom could do to keep her entertained long enough to set the cake down and for me to get into position.

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    So close to walking (with a little help from her Mom)…

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    And with that, it was over.  You did so good birthday girl! Thanks for coming over to smash your birthday cake.

    From my heart to yours,

    Christine