Sunday, April 10, 2016

St. Jude Patient Gets His Dream Ride from Retired Arabian Horse - Full Article & photos

April 8 2016
Kaitlyn Stoddard

It was just a couple weeks ago when Lizz Hoard, owner of Elizabeth Hoard Photography and my own wedding photographer, called me about 3 year old St. Jude Patient, K'meil. What started out as a business talk between his mom, Leyah, and Lizz turned into a story of her son's current battle with cancer. Essentially, she wanted photos of her child like any other mom, but long story short, "It's not good," Lizz told me.

K'meil has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma a rare cancerous tumor that seems to always affect children based on research at St. Jude. He has just finished his second round of chemo therapy and currently wears a port in his chest. The cancer has metastasized and spread to his bones, and he will soon be going through a bone marrow transplant as well.

K'meil's dream was to have his picture taken with a horse and maybe even ride one. That's when my phone rang. Lizz photographed me back in November in my wedding gown with my horse as a gift for my husband. She asked me if I thought we could use one of the horses, and even if he couldn't ride, the horse could be in the background. At that moment, I was sitting in the passenger seat of a dodge pickup truck pulling a gooseneck trailer with two horses in it headed to Alabama for an endurance race. I looked over at my cousin, Jennifer Whittaker, who owns Mystic Rose Arabians, teaches riding lessons and whose life is literally horses, kids, and more horses and told Lizz, "I think if he wants to ride a horse then he will ride a horse. He could probably have his pick of colors from Jennifer's lesson horses if he wants." And just like that, K'meil's dream of riding a horse was coming true. We scheduled their family shoot/horseback riding around his chemo treatment's at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and set the date for April 5th...

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1 comment:

Jo said...

Wow, endurance riders and their friends sure are a great bunch! Even though it brought back some tough memories, I cried when I read this article.

I'm a cancer survivor that knows first-hand the healing power of horses. The reprieve and healing that you brought this boy and his family goes far beyond the photos.

The spinal tap that I experienced was extremely painful, and the bone marrow transplant will be far worse for this little boy. I hope he finds much strength in your beautiful photos.