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Trading up for a new set of wings {Portrait Project: Cancer}

Yesterday was a sad day for us and a glorious day in Heaven.

I met Six Paige while photographing children for the Portrait Project. I only spent an hour with her, and did not get the opportunity to meet her again, yet she had an impact upon my attitude about life.

I photograph a number of high school girls. Most bring their insecurities (will their hair will look like they want it to, will they look thin enough, Please God dont let that pimple show in my pics) along with their outfits. My first job is always to make them relax and be themselves.

Six showed up with a huge smile on her face. She laughed and giggled at everything. Getting a “natural, unsmiling pose” was simply not going to happen because that would be unnatural to her. Six had a very edgy hair cut, with the top being bright red. I was told she was heading to the hospital the next day for a bone marrow transplant and knew she would lose all her hair. She had decided to celebrate it before it was gone. She had that exact same outlook on life. She knew might lose it, so she celebrated it before it was gone. When asked if she was frightened about the bone marrow transplant (she was intelligent and knew the risks) she said “No, it will be like an adventure that I can help others with later on.”

Yesterday Six left us, trading in her sick, earthly body for a glorious one in Heaven. She left a loving family, a prayer group in the hundreds of people who’s lives she had touched, and I’m sure thousands of their friends who heard of the joy she had for life and the positive outlook she maintained, even through the last 3 months of her life spent in a hospital while doctors desperately tried to heal her body.

While it was bittersweet to know she has left us and gone Home, I can only think of the lives she touched, including mine. I wonder if she chose red hair in Heaven and it makes me smile.

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