Sonya Stone is an on location photographer in Western North Carolina specializing in portraits of all kinds, especially children and families. You can see more of her work and find information about booking a session at her web site...www.sonyastone.com.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ladies and Gents, we have a winner!

I am happy to announce that I have selected a recipient for my Holiday Giveaway! Some of you may have heard the story of this family already, especially if you subscribe to the Asheville Mamas list. It is truly a heart wrenching situation and this family so deserves to have this gift. As I mentioned, I do have something special in store and I'll tell you more at the end of this entry, but first, I want to share the message I received to nominate the winning family.

"My dear friend, Jennifer, whose 3 1/2 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in mid-October. Jennifer is an incredible woman. She is a single mother of 2 girls, Savannah, age 8, and little Miss Shayla, age 3 1/2. Prior to the diagnosis, Jennifer was a head start teacher at Weaverville Elementary school. With Shayla's illness, she can no longer work as she is either at the hospital with her daughter while she undergoes chemo or at home, unable to venture into public very often as Shayla's immune system is so compromised by the treatments. Jennifer & Shayla will be traveling to Duke at the end of this month for surgery to see if they can remove the tumor. Shayla has kidney cancer and neuroblastoma, a less than 30% survival rate. As a mother, I can only imagine how horrifying all this is. They don't have much but they have wonderful friends who are helping in as many ways as possible with babysitting for her oldest daughter while Jenn is at the hospital with Shay, with fundraisers, and with love and support. Undoubtedly, it would be a wonderful gift to have some candid and professional photos taken of the family."

I can't imagine finding myself in this situation either. The struggles that Jennifer, her daughter, Shayla, and her daughter, Savannah, are facing are tremendous. There is a web site that follows Shayla's progress (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/shayla1) and a fund established through Jubilee Community Church in Asheville to help the family with the many expenses.

When I spoke to Jennifer to let her know of the giveaway and my gift of $1000 in photography services and prints, she was so appreciative as I can tell she is of all the loving support she is receiving from her friends and community. I told her how hard of a decision this was, that many families were nominated and there are so many struggling this season. She asked if she could share her gift with them! Little did she know, I have already planned for that!!

In this process, I realized how blessed I am and how much I can give to others through my photography. I decided to honor each nominee with a mini session and a gift print. I will schedule a day for all the nominees to come for portraits as my gift to them. Thank you to everyone who emailed me with a nomination! I am honored to share with these people who all sound so wonderful.

I pray that you all are having the happiest of holidays and that you are blessed in the New Year!

6 comments:

KaeLee.Denise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KaeLee.Denise said...

WHAT A GREAT gift for this wonderful family!

Lisa Marie said...

Sonya, you rock! I think you are so awesome for giving as much as you do! I'm glad it is going to someone (or multiple someones) who really deserve something nice.

Sonya said...

Thanks! I got off the phone with Jennifer and went straight to my kids to tell them how much I love them!

Kristin Marsh said...

Your generosity and commitment to serving the community through AABN are inspiring!

liz said...

what a beautiful gift, sonya - i'm sure they will treasure the pictures for years to come!

happy new year to you and your (growing!) family - i'm sure there are many blessings in store for you
:)

see you soon!