Children with cancer are smiling today at a Flashes of Hope shoots. Our dedicated volunteer chapter directors coordinate photo shoots within the nation's top hospitals and at special events for children with cancer. Whether photographing one child isolated in a bone marrow unit or a hundred kids having fun at summer camp, it's an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.

Allison Wenclawski

Allison Wenclawski

Allison has been a social worker at Loyola Medical Center since 2014, and prior to this, was in school and a volunteer with FOH! Allison had seen first-hand what joy and positivity the FOH experience can bring to patients and families, and was motivated to bring this organization's mission and values to Loyola.

Allison works specifically with the pediatric oncology/hematology population, providing emotional support, connecting with resources, and helping families grapple with all that comes with a cancer diagnosis. She works extensively with the pediatric oncology/hematology nurses, doctors, and child life specialist, to bring a sense of reassurance to the families. In her spare time, she loves to travel, read, and attempting to learn to cook.

Ila Coretti

Ila Coretti

I came to FOH, with a background in photography. After having gone through the cancer battle with my young son, I read about the organization in Parade magazine and immediately wanted to get involved.

When I see a child and they are photographed for the first time, sometimes they are a little shy at first, but after a few minutes you see a little smile sneak in, then it turns into a big smile or a silly face. Then you see the parents reaction, seeing their kids, be a kid in front of the camera, doing what kids do.

One of my favorite memories takes place at the hospital holiday parties and summer picnics that we photograph. There are a group of teenagers, that met when they were first diagnosed as children with cancer. Through the years they have all remained close and they will always have a group shot taken together. They have been through so much, remissions, relapses, it's important that they have these photos.

I used to be surprised when people would ask me " Why would anyone want photos from when their child was sick?" After having been through this with my own son, I am so glad that I have the photos that I took, I still have his smile to look at. Currently, I live outside of Chicago with my husband, 2 sons and 2 crazy dogs.

Laura Alexander

Laura Alexander

As a triple negative breast cancer survivor and mom, I am thrilled to be involved with Flashes of Hope! It's the perfect culmination of my varied pasts both personally and professionally. Prior to my battle with cancer, I ran the children's television/film department of one of Chicago's most well known talent agencies. I was a talent agent, casting director and acting coach specializing in kids and teens for over 20 years. After my 2005 battle with cancer, I decided that I wanted to give back to the incredible cancer community by working full time as the Director of Events and PR for Imerman Angels, a Chicago based cancer support charity. Currently I am raising my amazing teenage daughter and dog in the city of Chicago.

I know all too well the importance of capturing the precious moments and courage of one's cancer journey in photos One of my biggest regrets is not having ONE single picture of my bald head from my battle with cancer. I often wish I had one to not only remind myself of my own strength and beauty in those vulnerable moments but to share with my biggest supporter, my daughter, and other cancer fighters just beginning their battles. This picture would be a huge source of comfort, hope and inspiration to those in the fight.

Megan Gertz

Megan Gertz

Megan has been the coordinator of the Child Life Program at Loyola since 2009. In both healthcare and community settings, Certified Child Life Specialists help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement.

Megan provides age-appropriate activities and interventions including therapeutic play to help minimize wide ranging emotions including fear, anxiety, isolation, and boredom. She works to ensure that children develop positive coping skills during the course of their illness. Megan Works closely with the oncology/hematology population.

Megan spends much of her spare time with her two kids or working out and hanging out with her family and friends. Megan also loves to read and bake.

Hands on head

The children often request to be photographed with special friends – in this case a stuffed bunny. Children are also photographed with parents, siblings, hospital staff and even fellow patients. This sweet image was captured at All Children's Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

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