The best way to really sparkle and increase confidence is to give back. Here’s how:
by Alysa Darmody, Vice President at Magic Hour Foundation
This year, I was changed by a pedicure. It’s been 10 months since I found myself at the Stanford bedside of my adopted little sister, Daphne. She was about 4’11”, snarky, a gymnast and a singer. And she was finding out that her brain tumor was not, in fact, benign, as originally thought. Now it was a glioblastoma, a word that made my father – Daphne’s physician for nearly her entire life – simply shake his head.
It was rallying time and the waiting room was crammed with relatives and mountains of food. I was just one of Daphne’s supporters, and not blood related at that. What could I do for my girl that no one had already covered? In one of the two really good conversations I got with her, we reminisced, we laughed over her words that mysteriously appeared in inappropriate places, and we simply sat silently while I rubbed her thin arms and feet. “I really wish I could paint my toenails for the 49er game,” she sighed. “ON IT!!” I nearly trampled the poor girl in my eagerness to have a job. She laughed. “Well in that case, get me some In’N’Out burger, too.”
I’m terrible at painting nails, but in this case, I do think it was the most beautiful pedicure anyone could have. And that pedicure changed my role in Daphne’s passing. It gave me something to do – silly as it was. And when it comes to relating to cancer and the beautiful people fighting it – that is all that some of us could ever need or want.
When Daphne fell asleep and my portrait photographer husband realized how few pictures were taken of her in her three year battle with that tumor, we wept. She was beautiful and fierce, even without hair. And suddenly, we had a job.
Magic Hour Foundation provides charitable portrait sessions to cancer patients and survivors across the country. The name comes from the perfect yellow light cast by the sun as it transitions at the beginning and ending of each day. It’s perfect and it only comes about through change. So it is with our cancer warriors – their lives are forever altered upon the diagnosis. Priorities change, character often changes. No matter the outcome, this battle – and this life – deserves to be documented.
Because cancer is universal, we need a vast network of workers. We need a professional in every city so that no matter where the applicant is from, we have them covered. Our goal would be to tap a photographer on the shoulder no more than 2-3 times per year, but you may not get a call at all. Being available and willing is your gift. It’s so simple, it’s almost silly. But it’s a job that YOU can do. Simply shine your little light from your corner of the country until it’s needed.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Daphne and that beautiful pedicure that just might change the world.
Photographers: find more information and sign up online at www.magichourfoundation.org