Month: March 2018

Survivor Sessions – Part 2: The Team

On April 7th, we will be producing a glamour photo session in Downtown Flint. Our goal is to create a positive story for Flint and a magical moment for Cindy, completely putting aside the patient aspect of her life, focusing on beauty, joy and the life we love. [Read more about Cindy’s Story here.]

After putting out the story of the inspiringly optimistic Cindy, a few fabulous creatives offered to provide their talents for this project. I have assembled a team of professionals including a videographer, hair and makeup artists, and assistants. All graciously volunteering their time for this wonderful project, to honor Cindy and other survivors. I am so humbled by the giving spirit of this team.

Sponsors are helping to provide jewelry for Cindy, food for the team, as well as cover for expenses such as printing, so that Cindy will have a tangible memory of this day. A huge shout out to Perfect Fit Bridal Tuxedo Prom of Clio for providing a dress for the shoot. I’m a giddy little girl, like it’s my wedding all over again, getting to pick out the most amazing dress for Cindy.

The Dream Team

It takes more than just me, the photographer, to create this amazing experience. Meet the amazing people who will be making my little vision a reality. There is absolutely no way I could do this without them. I am excited to work with this team to create something greater than ourselves.

Megan Maureen, Makeup Artist

Megan, Makeup Artist

Megan recently graduated from Multimedia Makeup Academy with honors, but she believes learning your craft should be a lifelong process. Her favorite part about the makeup industry is supporting and encouraging people to reach their full potential, all while putting their best face forward. To her, beauty is so much deeper and more complex than outer appearances will allow us to see. She loves bringing that inner or underlying expression to the surface through the medium of makeup.
IG @MeganMaureenMakeup



Day-of Assistants

Sue (Nominator and my Go-to-Gal), Lisa (a free spirit with an eye for light), Jody (friend of Cindy's and former makeup professional)

Judy Darling, Hairstylist

Judy at Flint Zombie Walk
Judy (center) with Sue (left) and Cindy (right) at the Flint Zombie Walk

Judy has been a professional hairstylist for 35 years, providing her creative touch to Cindy’s special day. A fellow breast cancer survivor, Judy thrives in her faith and the beauty of the world around her. 



Perfect Fit Bridal Tuxedos Prom, Dress Sponsor

Perfect Fit Bridal Tuxedos Prom is the largest bridal wedding dress, plus size bridal, prom and plus size prom store in Michigan. Located in Clio, they provide private spaces in respect  of the emotional moment of finding the "Perfect Dress". 
IG @perfectfitformals
twitter @Perfect_Fit_

Dan Bennett, Videographer

Dan Bennett, DnA Design

Dan Bennett is the Founder and Creative Director of DnA Design Company, a high-end video production and digital media design firm that helps businesses/organizations that struggle to tell their stories, do so in an effective and impactful manner.

Some of DnA Design Company’s clients include...
General Motors
Harley Davidson
The Oxygen Network
Mercury Marine
The University of Michigan
IG @dnadesignco
twitter @dnadesignco


Special Honors

Thank you Sue, who not only introduced me to Cindy, but has been an absolutely amazing hidden partner. She has helped to find sponsors and more, and is truly taking to heart Cindy’s happiness. I can’t thank her enough.

Let's take a moment to honor two of the women collaborating in the background of this project, Judy, professional hairstylist, and her twin sister Jody, both breast cancer survivors. I am truly grateful for their talents, time and commitment to spreading positivity through hard times. Thank you!

I also want to thank YOU, the reader, for joining me on this crazy journey. 

*Last, but not least, my husband, who hasn't had a day go by without hearing me talk about this for two weeks. Thank you for believing in me, giving me the courage to make this dream a reality. 

Survivor Sessions – Part 1: The Inspiration

Two weeks ago, I put out a post on my Facebook and Instagram for models. One of the models I was looking for was an “inspirational woman (any level of wisdom)”. When Sue shared with me a story of her friend, I just knew this was the woman I wanted to build a photo shoot around. This was originally supposed to be just a quick session to create a specific photo I had in my head, but after reading Sue’s comments I had to dig deeper. I was truly inspired and wanted to create more than a photo, but a full experience her friend would never forget.

A True Fighter

Cindy, our nominee, has already inspired me to take this project to the next level. A resident of the city of Flint, she was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2006. A single mother of two, she cried for 24 hours. After gathering her strength, she made the choices needed in order to continue to support her family. She beat it!

Cindy married her soulmate, Mark, on 9-9-09, but the honeymoon period was cut short. It happened again, and again. Beating cancer once is a great feat, but to have beaten it three times is amazing. Her grandmother would say that you have to laugh to keep from crying (something I personally live by). The beauty of this is that the more you smile the more you truly believe in happiness, but after all she's been through, the joy Cindy emanates is that much more breathtaking. Her personal strength and the beautiful life giving support of her friends and family leaves me in awe.

After having close to 20 surgeries plus other related medical procedures, Cindy decided it was time to start writing a book about all the madness she's been through. Unfortunately, after being “cancer free” for five years, she was yet again faced by her doctor explaining she had breast cancer. This time it had metastasized to her sinuses, an extremely rare occurrence, making her the first patient in Flint, MI with this condition. This time she faced it head on. She had beaten it before. Why not again?!

Celebrating Life

This is when I was introduced. Cindy had just completed radiation treatment and was preparing to start chemo during her fourth fight. True, this may not be when fighters feel their most beautiful, but this is when they need the most support. After hearing Cindy’s story, listening to the joy and optimism in her voice, and seeing a picture of her facing her fears, I truly believe she is beautiful inside and out.

Cindy’s story spoke personally to me, as I want to honor the members my family struck by cancer. I especially want to honor my Auntie B. who has won multiple fights with breast cancer (though I’m jealous of the sunny skies she enjoys). Her warrior spirit reminds me to live life with Aloha. Also, my father who fought hard but passed of an undetermined cancer, was a free spirit who reminded me that sometimes the most rewarding work is done with your hands, live your passion and carve your own path. I reflect on their bravery every day.  May we all be so blessed to have heroes in our lives.

Sue and Cindy at the Flint Zombie Walk
Sue & Cindy at the Annual Flint Zombie Walk

Cindy and Mark's wedding day
Cindy & Mark, married 9-9-09

Cindy and the Radiation Mask
Cindy facing down her radiation mask for the last time. (Or as she put it, "The Silence of the Lambs Mask")