Flashes of Hope helps children say 'cheese'

CLEVELAND - You may have heard of the Susan G. Komen foundation and Livestong but in Cleveland, people are helping to wipe out cancer, one flash at a time.

Breeonne Reed, 19,  has been through a lot this year.

"I have stage four Thymous Cancer. Of course, losing my hair was the worst part of even getting cancer," said Reed.

But today, you wouldn’t be able to tell.

"I just feel good right now. Like I just want to smile," Reed said.

Loretta Nasca is the Cleveland Chapter Director for Flashes of Hope. It’s a non-profit organization that takes pictures of children who are battling life threatening illnesses. Many of those kids have cancer. She says she does it because, she feels they get a little bit of confidence.

"Part of heeling is just feeling good. Many families will come back and say, 'That picture got us through so many hard times, because we would just look at it and remember the strength our child had,'” Nasca said.

You can tell by the smiles on the kids' face, this isn’t a normal day at the hospital.

"It made me feel good. I don’t even know why. It’s just pictures. I take pictures all the time," Reed said.

Allison Clarke is the Founder of Flashes of Hope. She understands what these families are going through. 

"Our son was two years old the first time he was diagnosed with cancer and one his little friends at the hospital passed away. And I wondered if him mom had a photograph of him. And that was it."

Clarke says at the very first shoot they knew it worked. They decided then to give this to more children and do it again.

Clarke is from Cleveland where that first photo was taken, but the simple idea, quickly grew.

"We reached a point where we were photographing 90 percent of the kids here in Cleveland, so we thought, well now what? So, we decided to expand," Clarke said.

Flashes of Hope has 55 chapters across the United States and everyone from the photographers to hair and makeup artists are all volunteers. 

But as Nasca points out,  that takes a lot of support.

"Every year we have an event at the Q with the Cavilers," Nasca said.

The Cleveland Cavilers have been helping support the program for years. But it’s not just the kids that benefit. Jenny has been through this with her 9-year-old daughter Erin, more than once. She says Flashes of Hope is always a bright spot during treatment.

"Little things like getting your hair and makeup done, and being able to have these pictures taken, it’s hard to put into words what that can actually make you feel," Jenny said.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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