SADE | Photographed by Suzanne Tenuto 

Philadelphia
chapter

founded January 2006
kids photographed to date 1,339

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In early June of 2003, my family joined the club no parent thinks they will ever be a part of. My daughter, Marti, then just 18 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Our journey as an Onco Family began, as all do, with many tears and worries. I tried... { more }
In early June of 2003, my family joined the club no parent thinks they will ever be a part of. My daughter, Marti, then just 18 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Our journey as an Onco Family began, as all do, with many tears and worries. I tried to postpone touring the Oncology floor as long as possible- I was dreading an image of illness and sadness like those seen on tv or in movies.

When we finally went to the floor that would become like a second home to us, something amazing happened. A little boy, no older than three, came running out of a room, shrieking in laughter, with his grandmother running after him, trying to make sure his iv pole didn't get caught. That was my first clue that I didn't really know what to expect.

During my daughter's successful treatment over the next year, I learned much from her and the other families we met. Onco kids are kids, first and foremost. They want to play and make funny faces. They might be more understanding of the bond they have with their family, but they also get frustrated with a fussy parent. They have a vocabulary that is a little wider than other kids, but they speak the language of cartoons and characters most of all. They have bad days, of course. But as much as possible, they run, jump, laughing and yelling, regardless of the tethers that threaten to hold them back.
I am a picture framer by trade. In the summer of 2005, I happened upon a little tiny blurb about Allison Clarke and her work in Cleveland, in a trade magazine of all places! Allison was looking for a donation of frames for an upcoming exhibit.

I reached out to Allison, and felt an instant connection to her organization and dedication. I went beyond offering frames. I wanted to start a chapter in Philadelphia. In January,2006, the third chapter of Flashes of Hope held it's first shoot. Over 800 families later, I am still learning lessons from Onco families. It has been an honor to be a part of their story, to try to share some hope from our story and to celebrate the life that each of these kids is living. Just like the little boy I saw on that first day. The first steps I took outside his room led me directly here, and for that I am very thankful.

Chapter Director(s)

Christie Kwait
[ bio ]
Christie Kwait

Chapter Information

215-292-2339

Shoot Locations

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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