I mentioned last month that I was selected to be a participating photographer in The Gold Hope Project. Well soon after being accepted I received my first Gold Hope session fighter application. I immediately accepted the session and contacted mom Jayme to set up the photo session with her two young boys. Yes, her two children fighting a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma.
In November 2010, Jamison was diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma and then almost a year later, on September 12, 2011, his big brother Cole was diagnosed with Unilateral Retinoblastoma. Both boys have the genetic mutation that causes retinoblastoma, inherited from their father who is a carrier of the genetic mutation. Their dad does not have retinoblastoma and no one else in their family has it either.
Jamison, now 3 years old, the younger of the two, went through 6 months of chemo after he was diagnosed and has undergone platelet transfusions and several hospital stays due to allergic reactions to some of the chemo agents and the antibiotic amoxicillan. Their mom Jayme explained that Jamison has lost most of his vision in his left eye but “still gets around fine.” Cole, who is 4 year sold, underwent chemo in September 2011, and finished up with it in February 2012. Cole’s tumor is on the edge of his retina and is small, so it does not hinder his vision however, Cole does have hearing impairment which was recently diagnosed. Both of the boys’ prognosis is good, they are “stable” and “clear” at the moment and are expected to beat retinoblastoma.
Despite all of this, the young brothers are healthy, fun and exploratory little boys. They are both very loving and we instantly became friends. They were very enthusiastic the day we met at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC to have their photos taken for their Gold Hope Session. Cole loves animals, and anything to do with animals. His mom Jayme says that he has a very large stuffed animal collection. Jamison loves animals too but he is really a fan of trains. Mom painted some toy trains gold for our session and you can see both boys with their trains in a few of the images. I also brought some gold balloons and snapped a few images of them before we went into the zoo. That week was Spring Break here in Columbia and everyone apparently goes to the zoo during Spring Break! It was crowded! But we managed to find the “animal garden” at the Riverbanks Zoo and stopped in there for a break from the sun and the unusual April heat and snapped some adorable brotherly photos.