the power of giving

while i was on vacation, in nevada, i got an email from margot.  she was emailing to make sure it was okay that they used one of my photos of sam in their 2010 family photos, which she wanted to post on  her blog. the first thought that came to mind, along with the tears, was, are you KIDDING me? you NEVER have to ask me about using the photos i took of sam. but instead, i replied,

absolutely. and please don't ever feel you need to ask me about using sam's photos at anytime, for anything. please just use them.

for those who didn't follow my journey with sam and his family, let me share a bit. sam went to the same elementary school in san diego, as kiele. i had learned of sam from kiele's deaf itinerant teacher, diane (sam was hearing impaired due to chemo). i asked diane to share with sam's parents that i was available to them any time at all, to photograph sam and their family. time went on. life was busy. and i hadn't heard from sam's parents.

then one day in late 2006, while photographing kiele's classmates, i ran to sam's class and asked the teacher if i could pull sam out of class for a few photos. i knew sam's teacher because kiele had had her for 2nd grade. so i pulled sam out of class and took a few photos. once the prints arrived, i boxed them up, brought them to sam's teacher and asked that she give them to the parents and tell them that they are a gift from me.

one of those photos, from the very first time i photographed sam, is the framed photo below.

© meredith brunette

i share this for a couple of reasons: first, the power of giving back is beyond words. if you haven't given back in some way (and i'm not talking monetarily; we all have our gifts, talents, information, etc.), i beg you to. give when and however you can. it can be as simple as giving a helping hand to someone in need. second, don't be discouraged whenever attempting to give and it's not working out exactly as planned. if i've made an honest, whole-hearted attempt and it doesn't work out, that's all i can do (except with sam, i was able to find a workaround). the reason i say this is because i have received quite a few emails sharing that they are trying to give their photography services but the person / parent isn't responding and they're wondering how to proceed.

it amazing how when  you give and expect absolutely nothing in return, they fill your heart so greatly. these families that i have photographed over the years have touched my heart and soul and given me so much...more than words could ever describe.

after those initial photos of sam at school, i continued to photograph sam and his family for the next three years...until sam, after so much strength and fighting, sadly lost his battle to neuroblastoma on march 12th, 2010.

in memory of sam, here are some of my favorite photos from the years i photographed him. miss you buddy!

if you haven't already, i hope this will help inspire you to incorporate giving into your 2011.