Last Friday I had the opportunity to spend some time with a very special little girl. With my own kids in good hands in Columbus, I drove to the Dayton Children’s Hospital to see my friend Scarlett and her mama. I first met Miss Scarlett in 2017. A client of mine posted about her cousin on facebook. Her cousin was the mother of a beautiful baby girl who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma - very rare type of cancerous tumor that almost always affects children. That precious little girl was Scarlett. I offered to do a shoot for Scarlett and her family and after meeting her, I instantly fell in love with her sassy little personality. At the time Scarlett was undergoing chemo therapy and all of her beautiful blond hair was falling out. But to me she was still gorgeous, and at times it was hard to even believe that precious little girl was sick.
In 2018 Scarlett continued her battle against this terrible disease with bone marrow transplants and a series of immunization therapy. It’s hard to even believe all that this little brave girl has gone through in her very short lifetime. In November Scarlett turned three, and I had the pelasure of seeing her again. If any of you saw my images from the Santa mini sessions you know how amazing “Santa” was. Scarlett’s mom, Lindsay, contacted me to see if we could do a Santa session for her and thankfully I was able to set up a private one for her and her family. Scarlett, her big sister Praline, mom and her grandparents all came to meet St. Nick and we captured some wonderful moments. She brought her favorite new stuffed Grinch toy to join in the fun. I have to give credit to the most amazing Santa, Richard Knapp, for making Scarlett and her family feel so welcome and creating memories I know they will cherish.
Scarlett was able to have the Christmas holiday at home with her family and even had a visit from the Grinch I heard. But on December 26th she was re-admitted to Dayton Children’s hospital for another round of therapy. In speaking with Lindsay, I mentioned that I would love to come and see Scarlett and would be happy to take photographs of her. Last Friday was that day.
When I arrived, Charlotte and Lindsay were playing together in the “playroom” area of the cancer floor. I sat and chatted with the girls for a little while. Scarlett looked adorable as ever in her little jeans, sneakers, rainbow shirt and freshly painted teal fingernails. As Lindsay and I were chatting about the holidays and Scarlett’s treatments, Scarlett looked up from playing with legos, looked at Lindsay and just said “I love you mom.” My heart just melted. This was the first of many times throughout the day that Scarlett would say those words to her mom.
Once we were done playing Scarlett wanted to show me around. We went to her room and grabbed her favorite tea party cart and started on our journey around the floor. Scarlett knew the route right to the nurse’s station where all of the lollipops were. We headded in that direction passing so many friendly faces. Faces of nurses, doctors, other patients and other hospital staff who had become a part of Scarlett’s life these past few months. When we arrived at the nurse’s station, Scarlett looked for her very favorite flavor - Pink Bubble Gum! She grabbed one of those and a blue lollipop and put them in her cart to save for later. Next we made our way on to the sticker station and then to the giant snowman that greeted everyone as they got off the elevator onto her floor. We also stopped so she could give a check up to one of her favorite doctors and nurses and we even got a visit from a special furry friend, whom Scarlett loved to command “sit and stay.”
On this day I had the opportunity to get to know Scarlett so much better. I spent several hours with her and she reminded me so much of my youngest daugher - adorable, sassy and full of personality. She would just say the funniest things and crack up at herself. Ooh so many times I would forget why I was there, and why she was there. This little girl, who has spent so many of her days within the walls of a hospital, so many nights in a hospital bed, was just full of life last Friday and I am so honored I was there to see it.
When it was time for me to head back Scarlett was eating her lunch - a corndog and french fries! I hugged her goodybye and without skipping a beat she grabbed my cheeks, squeezed them and said “thank you for coming!” I couldn’t believe it, but then again, it was so her and I will never forget it!
Later Friday evening Lindsay sent me a message thanking me for coming. She said that she would welcome it if I wanted to share any of Scarlett’s images. I hadn’t planned on sharing my day because I don’t want it to be about me blah blah. But after thinking more about it, I do want to share Scarlett and her story. The more of you who are touched by her, the more prayers can be said! So I am happy to share a little bit of Scarlett with all of you. Hopefully you will keep her in your prayers. She is set to have some new scans soon and I am hopeful that all of these treatments will yield some positive news. If you would like to follow Scarlett and her journey visit her page Scarlett the Brave on facebook here https://www.facebook.com/groups/122729198402519/
A few from Scarlett’s visit with Santa in November!