The K-Man Project
In 2016, I was incredibly blessed to cross paths with a spunky, handsome little man named Kiel (who I would come to fondly call K-Man). Unfortunately, Kiel at the young age of 7, had been battling cancer for about a year.
At the time, I had never met Kiel or his family but my heart went out to them as I continued to see update posts that flooded my Facebook feed. I felt a nudge by God to reach out to this family and offer to do a family photo session for them. Little did I know that Kiel's mom, Nicky, couldn't get enough photos of her kiddos. We chatted on the phone and on Messenger multiple times over several months trying to coordinate a date for the session. It was an enormous undertaking for them since they spent every waking moment focusing on Kiel's treatment AND most importantly, making memories.
In September of 2016, we were finally able to connect for what turned out to be one of the most amazing, if not THE most amazing, photo sessions that I've ever done. Kiel, his identical twin brother, baby sister and parents traveled about an hour to my studio for a superhero themed session (Ironman vs Captain America) as well as an outdoor session.
Kiel's favorite superhero was Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr. - RDJ). The fact that he was on his way in a few short weeks to meet the real-life Ironman, in person, made me a tad bit nervous since I hadn't ever done a session like this before. My goal was to give Kiel and his family several prints from the superhero session to take with them for their in-person weekend with RDJ. I knew that it would mean the world to Kiel to "show" RDJ his special photo session honoring him and if Kiel was lucky, RDJ would personalize a photo especially for Kiel which he did. That guy has a heart of gold and he gave Kiel and his family one of the most amazing and memorable weekends ever!
Sadly, on March 5, 2017, Kiel succumbed to the cancer but his memory lives on. I've always had the desire to honor this little guy in a special way. So when I was recently contacted by a parent of a child with special needs about doing a superhero session, I knew the timing was perfectly orchestrated by God.
My goal is to do what little bit I can for more kiddos going through difficult times like Kiel AND to honor his memory. As a person with special needs, I personally understand the trials that come with a lifetime of medical issues and challenges. Because of my condition, I have had over 25 surgeries, including 11 total joint replacements, kidney cancer and a plethora of other surgeries. My desire to work with these kiddos is probably much greater than what my physical condition will allow but I'm determined to do what God blesses me with the ability to do.
As each March 5th comes and goes which marks Kiel's departure from this earth, my heart goes out to his family. Meeting Kiel and his wonderful family is one of the most meaningful things I've ever experienced in my life. With the blessing of Kiel's parents, I look forward to sharing the joy of these specialized sessions with other families who are walking that same difficult path. May each child I meet be blessed beyond measure and all the glory go to God Almighty.
If you're reading this and you know of a very special child that deserves a superhero session, please contact me and tell me your story. While I may not be physically able to do a session for every single deserving child, I'd love to do what I can. If you're a photographer interested in joining my team, by all means, please reach out to me. Together, we may be able add a bit of sunshine to a child's gloomy day!
Matthew 5:16 - In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.