“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Today these words hit deeper than they have ever in my past during my career as a photographer. You see, 3 weeks ago, I had the most magical experience. It seemed like the world was aligning just perfectly. A dear friend was coming to Florida for a short visit, and I was going to be picking her up at the Orlando International Airport. While planning her trip and scheduling time off, she learned that a fellow co-worker would also be heading down to Orlando at the same time. We learned that he would be heading down with his wife, children, and grand-babies for an extra-special trip to Walt Disney World…it was a wish trip for their little peanut Mason. You see their lives changed forever a year ago when they learned their sweet boy had cancer. This trip was a blessing to allow them to spend quality time together and enjoy what might be some of the last magical moments with Mason. When I learned of this, my friend and I immediately knew we wanted to do something for their family. We wanted to give the family a gift of photographically documenting part of this beautiful time together with their peanut. And thankfully, they were so on board with that idea! <3
While we didn’t actually make it to a park with them on the morning of our visit with them, we did get to spend a few sweet hours with them where they were staying at Give Kids the World. I got to photograph Mr. Mason as he visited with Mickey and all of his friends. We then spend some time on the enchanted merry-go-round, and concluded with hanging Mason’s special star in the Castle of Miracles. And let me tell you, it took everything in me to fight back tears in that place. Seeing the hundreds of thousands of stars covering the ceilings and walls of the castle. One hung for every child with a life-threatening illness. I’ve never seen anything more heart-wrenching, yet so beautiful in all my life.
But today is the day when my story comes full circle. I learned this afternoon that the sweet baby boy Mason earned his angel wings at 7:50am. Exactly 3 weeks after I met and photographed him and his family. My heart is absolutely breaking for this family. I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache, since mine already hurts so much for them. But I am so thankful I could be there with them during a portion of their Disney trip to document it. I was able to hopefully capture some moments, and freeze them forever in time, so that they can take a return ticket back and cherish those memories forever. Thank you, Buskirk family, for letting me into yours and Mason’s lives. You have forever changed it for the better! You have enforced why I loved what I do so passionately. You are in my thoughts today. Xx
(P.S. – please scroll down to the bottom for a link if you would like to help this special family during this difficult time)
If you would like to help Mason and his family as they deal with the financial burdens cancer can cause as they lay their little one to rest, please, please take a moment of your time to make a donation to the link below.