I (Cristi) had to take an unexpected break from taking pictures when I “badly mangled” (doctor’s words, not mine!) my foot a few weeks ago. So Jessi has stepped in (once again! She’s my photography lifesaver/hero!) as the full time Hiyapapaya shooter for a few weeks until I can heal and get off crutches. I’m thankful to Jessi for always being willing to step in when my health isn’t top-notch. I’m especially grateful that she was able to do this particular photo shoot because it needed to be carefully planned around Becky’s cancer treatments.
Do you remember Stephanie’s beYOUtiful statement? Well, Stephanie lives out of state and is expecting a baby (YAY! Congratulations, Stephanie!), and couldn’t make it here for a photo shoot. So she generously gifted her beYOUtiful shoot to her sister-in-law Becky who is in the middle of a courageous battle with cancer and going through chemotherapy right now. Becky actually had to schedule her shoot with us in between her rounds of chemo, radiation and surgery. Talk about an amazing and brave and strong woman! It actually makes me teary-eyed writing about it. I watched both of my parents go through cancer. We lost my dad to colon cancer 21 years ago when I was 12 years old. And just this past December, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has just finished radiation and will (hopefully!) be receiving a clean bill of health in the next few months. I know the affects that cancer has on the body. And I know what a brave fight those who are battling it put up.
As I was putting this blog post together, I asked Stephanie if she’d like to say a few words about Becky. Here’s what she told us:
“I will never forget the day I met Becky. I was having a bad day, or rather a tough time in life, and she noticed. She stopped to talk to me and took the time to try to understand my needs, to comfort me, and quickly offered up her love and friendship. Little did I know that 13 years later I would be be trying to comfort and help her through a rough patch in her life. Through these 13 years we have been friends, we have been roommates, and now she is my sister-in-law (and we jokingly call each other “fristermates” to sum it all up).
I have seen her happy, sad, troubled, angry, silly, laughing, crying, and through it all she has remained so graceful and beautiful. Becky is one of the most courageous women I know. Her strength and her faith are only a few of the many qualities about her that make her beautiful and I have always admired that in her. Having her a part of my life and my family has been a blessing. Although Becky may not feel at her most beautiful right now in her life, I hope that she knows that she remains one of the most beautiful women in the world to me because she knows who she is and who she can become.”
What is always most amazing to me is the real happiness and joy and – I sincerely think – true BEAUTY that cancer patients radiate. Can’t you just see it jumping off the page in these pictures of Becky? I didn’t even get to meet her in person, but I can just FEEL her spirit in the photos. And, after all, a woman’s heart – her courage and her fight and her SPIRIT … THAT is REAL beauty.