Story Lens Photography :: Wedding and Portraits » Photography Blog for Vail, Summit County, Denver and Boulder

Shalyn and Family: Courageously fighting

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful summer morning overlooking Lake Dillon. I love working with families, but this family was extra special.  They were in Summit County with the Domus Pacis Family Respite program.  This is one of the non-profits that I support by donating portrait sessions to families who are dealing with cancer.  In this case, it is 8 year old Shalyn.  Instead of going to school and playing with her friends, this beautiful little girl has spent the last year in and out of the hospital undergoing chemo therapy and treatments for her Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Her family, including her 10 (almost 11) year old sister, Lauren, has been there to support her every step of the way.

Here is a short and touching entry from Shalyn’s blog from 6 months ago, when she recieved her bone marrow transplant, where Lauren was a perfect match and served as her donor:

(12/20): The transplant process went very well. Lauren was up at 5:30 AM to be checked in at 6:00 AM for her procedure. She was in good spirits and excited to be able to help her sister. She was in surgery for a little over two hours. They took about 400 Milli-Litres (1/2 Litre or about 1/4 of a 2 Litre bottle of pop) from her hip bones. They only used half of the cells, the other half will be frozen in case they need to attempt another transplant in the future.

Lauren had five entry points (Three in the right hip bone and two in the left) each entry point had 4-5 bone punctures. Lauren received the blood that she had drawn the week before in a transfusion to help her recover from the procedure.

Lauren had a fairly rough recovery from the Anaesthesia. She was very drained and threw up once. Both Lauren and Shalyn slept through the big event of the infusion of Laurens Cells into Shalyn by IV (Shalyn had been pre-medicated with some anti-reaction drugs that made her sleepy). We had Lauren stay over night in the hospital due to her long and draining day. She was pale for about two days but seemed to recover from the soreness in about three days. It will take about a month for her marrow to re-generate.

This was Lauren’s day. She made a huge sacrifice without question or complaint. We are unable to express how proud we are of both of them but we are sure that you understand how humbled we are by there courage, sacrifice and grace.

I loved watching them just be- away from it all for a few hours and capturing these precious memories. Please feel free to leave them a message of encouragement.

  • Liz - Wanted to leave a comment for Shalyn since no one else did! You’re a beautiful girl who is blessed with a loving family. I’m so glad you get to be supported. May God grant you healing and many beautiful days like this day!

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