Back in August, I had an absolute blast spending the day at Keeneland with some really talented people and some incredibly precious kiddos. Every year, the kids and their families are interviewed about life, their medical condition, and how excited they are to have their wish granted! Then they get taken on a little tour of Keeneland.
So what did I do? I shot photos of all of the above, plus some portraits of each family. It was so wonderful to see the kids let loose and have fun, and although I did some posing, I let them make whatever kind of silly faces they wanted!
Here’s the interview setup with Rebecca, or “Becca” and her mom. Nothing like a bunch of lights and cameras pointed at you to make you feel famous for a day, huh? Becca has a rare disease, Ewing Sarcoma, in which cancer cells are found in the bone or soft tissue. Her wish is to go to Hawaii, and she couldn’t be more excited to spend time on the beach and see a volcano in person!
Baily gives Buckles, the Keeneland mascot, a big high five before her interview. Baily suffers from Neuroblastoma, a cancer of specialized nerve cells most often occurring in the adrenal gland. She loves watching the Cinderella movies, so it’s fitting that her wish is to go to Walt Disney World! Baily was a total ham in front of the camera, and I couldn’t get enough.
Here’s Blake looking out onto the track. His bleeding disorder, hemophilia, has affected his life in so many ways. Disasters fascinate Blake, and he can’t wait to get as close as possible to the lava from a volcano when he goes to Hawaii for his wish!
Christian and his family were so much fun to be around! He has been diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Christian’s wish is to have a vacation at a Sandals Caribbean resort, and he couldn’t be more excited. We all laughed way too much coming up with cheesy poses.
Here’s Cindy getting her mic put on by JD. Cindy’s wish is to go on a Disney Cruise with her family!
Director Brit McAdams gets a pretty sweet five from Cindy. She was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, a cancer that starts in the bone marrow and quickly moves into the blood.
At first glance, these might just seem like a regular strand of beads, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although Cindy was recently diagnosed, every single bead represents a treatment, hospital visit, or something else that she had to be strong to get through. What a tough little girl!
Here is Makenzie petting a horse in one of the stables! She suffers from Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), a genetic disorder that affects nerves, muscles, other organs, and behavior. Makenzie also can’t wait to go on a Disney Cruise with her family!
Ricky was also pretty excited to pet a horse. Jon Greely helps in these photos. So cute!
Ricky is going to Walt Disney world with his family! Although he has spent an incredible amount of time in hospitals, the exact condition that affects him is still unknown.
This is Sophia with her dad. Sophia is unique in that she suffers from a disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain and other parts of the body. This disorder begins at birth and leads to a progressive loss of physical and mental skills. Sophia’s wish is to have a service dog! From the time it’s a puppy, her service dog will be trained specially for her, and will know her mannerisms and how to respond. How amazing is that?
A huge thanks to everyone who was a part of production, and of course to Make A Wish Foundation for making dreams come true for these kids. I’m already looking forward to being a part of everything next year!
P.S. Couldn’t resist a selfie with Buckles.