Anese Merriwether, Minneapolis, MN, USA:

We blessed three different organizations in Minneapolis on December 8th. As lead organizer for our group, I am still collecting the stories that continue to stream in from volunteers. I can’t think of a better way to deliver this particular story from beginning to end. So, unconventionally it is!

This is Annie. She is one of the dozens of women we photographed as part of the event we held for MOCA (MN Ovarian Cancer Alliance). Annie was quite moved by the wonderful gift given to her and other cancer survivors by Help-Portrait that day. Unbeknownst to her, she also touched the hearts of several volunteers as well. Following is a stream of conversation that happened in the Minneapolis Help-Portrait group, during the days following the event.

“Annie’s story brought me to tears, and I imagine others who were present. I was especially touched when she mentioned she had died, had been gone more than 45 minutes, and was in a coma too.” –Lead Photographer who did Annie’s portrait session, Cedric Dean

“I LOVE this lady!” –Assistant Photographer, Jen Martodam

“She was so amazing. While she waited for her images, she stood by the door, just watching us all, and smiling the whole time. I think she connected with a bunch of us.” –MOCA Site Lead, Michelle Hartman

“She was the sweetest person!” –Assistant Photographer, Jen Martodam

“She was amazing. Her concern was having a professional photo of herself for her family when she is gone. WOW!” –Lead Photographer, Lorrie ‘Peets’ Roff

“The lovely lady whose story of survival was the one that broke me down in tears that day. To call her simply a “survivor” is selling her short. She is a miracle. She is the reason I promised to have a CA 125 test done, the next time I see my doctors. A beautiful woman who survived cancer, but will lose her life to complications caused by the disease.”  –Hair & Makeup Artist, Sarah Elizabeth

“Sarah, I think the shot Toni got of us hugging was just after you worked with her. I remember you were so upset and touched.”
-Site Lead, Michelle Hartman

Toni (pictured speaking alone to Annie) and Meng shot behind the scenes, and were moved to add additional photos to this story.

As photographers and other volunteers, I don’t think we often take enough time to realize how much of a difference we can make in the lives of others, simply by doing what we love. When we dedicate one entire day in December giving this priceless experience and gift to others, it helps us all remember… A picture is worth.

I’m certain that Annie would tell you that. Someday, her family will too.