"Flashes of Hope" on NBC Boston affiliate WHDH

January 22, 2007  |  Posted by Frances Rivera

When kids are young, their parents usually take plenty of pictures. But, there are some life events, though to change that. In today's healthcast, a program that gives portraits to families during difficult times.

13-year-old Allison Hawkes is all smiles today.

"She's a natural," photographer Kathy Tarantola said. "Excellent. I love that smile."

Allison is posing for the camera at Tufts Floating Hospital for Children. She comes here for her cancer treatments, but today, Allison and several other kids in the hospital are being photographed with their families, thanks to a program called "Flashes of Hope."

"Not only is it the portraits for the family that are important, for memories, but that the kids spirits get uplifted and that helps them fight their disease," Tarantola said.

Tarantola and photographer, Bill O'Connell, take these snapshots, something parents say makes a world difference for these kids that are fighting cancer and other life threatening diseases.

"It's nice that there are organizations out there for these kids to do normal things and enjoy them when they're in the hospital all the time," Allison's mom, Christen Hawkes said. "So to have them come to you and offer you this package, it was great,"

Christen says smiles can be hard to come by when they're at the hospital, which is why she says "Flashes of Hope" is such a great program.

"It's just wonderful to see her smile, even if we're at the hospital, especially when we're at the hospital," Hawkes, said.

"They're just amazing," Tarantola said. "It's not about kids with cancer anymore, it's just about kids being kids and I think that's incredible."

The "Flashes of Hope" program is run in six other cities across the country.