At my brother's wedding this past October, my aunt was telling me how much she loved my maternity photos and wished I lived in St. Louis so that I could photograph my cousin Nikki, who was expecting. I told her, "fly me to St. Louis and I'll do it" and the ball started rolling. On the first weekend of December I flew to St. Louis. That is a story unto itself. I got up to the TSA agent and reached for my id only to find that it was missing. They do allow you to fly without your id but you have to clear several levels of security which isn't fun. My aunt picked me up from Lambert airport and we drove immediately out to Troy, MO and my cousin's homestead. They are building a farmhouse (themselves) on their beautiful land. If I remember right, it was about an hour's drive and we only had a short time before the sun set. I wanted to get some photos done that night and would do the rest the following evening.
This was the first time that I'd get to spend any significant amount of time with my cousin and her family in quite a while. Living in separate states since our marriages, our visits had been limited to family funerals, golden anniversaries and 80th birthday parties for our grandparents. Getting to know Nikki's family during my trip was such a blessing. She and her husband are a hardworking, loving couple. Their boys are smart, outgoing, loving, well-mannered, outdoorsy young gentleman. I got a lesson on deer tracking while I was there! Nikki and Eric were not going to find out the sex of the baby. I was secretly hoping for a little girl so I made sure to bring a pastel pink gown for Nikki to wear in her photos. We hiked all around their property looking for pretty picturesque spots. It was a lot of fun. I'll share the photos in a bit.
In January, we were all overjoyed to learn that little Sadie Lynn was born. A long awaited daughter was here, She has been bringing joy to their family for nearly two months now. This past week, just a couple of short days ago. Sadie's mommy and daddy learned that Sadie had tumors behind each eye. She was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. Doctors immediately started chemo the next day and since Wednesday, Sadie has undergone two days of chemo. She'll have one more round today and then get a short reprieve. Chemotherapy will continue for the next 6 months.
I share all this with a plea. Please stand with us in prayer for Sadie. We are praying to God for victory over Retinoblastoma. Please pray that Sadie would be wholly cured. Please pray that Sadie's eye sight would be restored. Please pray for no further complications (such as hearing loss or other) from the treatments. Please pray that God's would use Sadie for his glory.
A Go Fund Me has also been started for Sadie's family. I'm including links below (just click on the buttons) to the Go Fund Me page. Support of any amount is so appreciated by this hardworking and generous family. Our family thanks you for standing with us to fight for Sadie. #herfightismyfight #sadiestrong
Carrie Howland is a maternity and newborn photographer located in Charlotte, NC.