Flashes of Hope South Carolina Midlands will provide a myriad of volunteers to come together from many diverse backgrounds for the purpose of capturing professional and lovingly memorable photographic images of pediatric patients with life-threatening diseases, disorders, and injuries like cancer, sickle cell, and trauma. This program will be offered to many who may not have the ability to pay for such services, but certainly will not remain exclusive to them. A portrait package is presented to the patient’s family or caretaker to treasure, presented in a beautiful portfolio case with two black and white 8×10 photos, multiple smaller prints, and a CD of all their images.
When a child is diagnosed with a dreadful disease or disorder or experiences a life altering trauma, trips to the hospital become a part of life. The patient may be isolated from school, siblings and friends, and it can be challenging to find a reason to smile. By using professional photographers and stylists who together volunteer their time, beautiful images are captured of these patients through the lens of the camera. The results enable the families and caretakers to view the courage, beauty and dignity of thousands of children like their own who are hospitalized each year. For many families, these are the last and sometimes only portraits they will ever have of their children.
The photo shoots of Flashes of Hope South Carolina Midlands will take place in Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital located in Columbia, SC. It is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital partner where more than 150,000 pediatric (ages 0 – 17) patient visits take place annually. It is the first children’s hospital in South Carolina, founded in 1983 and today remains the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital. It has more than 30 pediatric subspecialties available to treat children. It has the only children’s emergency center in the Midlands. It has been designated by the American College of Surgeons as a Level I trauma center – one of only two in the state.
The Flashes of Hope South Carolina Midlands chapter is headed up by a local volunteer Chapter Director whose responsibility is to raise about $7,500 annually. The Director works with Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital administrative staff to set up the photo shoots. The National office finds qualified photographers in each city and the Chapter Director helps facilitate the photo shoot on location. The stylist works with each child to provide professional service to help prepare them for the session. The photographer edits the photos and sends the processed digital files to the national office where a professional lab donates the prints. The Chapter Director assembles the portrait packages for each family and delivers them to the families or sends them to their home.
All marketing materials are provided by the national office and are made available to the Chapter Director for distribution to patient families within Children’s Hospital, and by sharing the information with Palmetto Health’s marketing department for distribution through various media and other channels.
Flashes of Hope was founded in 2001 by the parents of a child with cancer. It is a volunteer-driven organization which has historically focused solely on children’s cancer. With the South Carolina Midlands Chapter, approval has been granted to allow the Midlands chapter to expand and invite many other critically ill pediatric patients and families to participate in this program.