This is Jennie. Jennie Brade. This is Jennie and her three adorable kids.
And, we can’t forget Adam. Adam is Jennie’s totally amazing, incredibly supportive husband. Together, they are the Brade family.
Aren’t they cute? I can absolutely tell you that they are one normal family–full of fun and chaos. Living life with good humor and grace while their three children(the oldest, Liam will be 6 tomorrow–make sure to say happy birthday to him in the comments) run circles around them. Not so different from so many families I have the pleasure to meet. Well, except they are. Jennie has breast cancer.
Awhile ago, I mentioned that I wanted to do a project with people whose lives had been touched by cancer. Jennie found my blog–through some of the crazy coincidences that life throws at you–and emailed me telling me her(and her mother’s) absolutely unbelievable story. We met. One week after her double mastectomy. I told her that I had some ideas for the project, but that I work very organically and things just tend to grow into whatever they are going to be. She was good with that. She had her own reasons for wanting to participate in whatever way I saw fit. Well…there’s no going back now. We’ve started.And, I am so in love with this family I am crying while I write this. Jennie is letting me document their journey for you all. She will occassionally have some things to say and I promise to share them with you. But, we’ve started. I don’t know how long it will continue or even what will become of the images. I truly have no intentions…just faith. Faith that things will unfold the way they are meant to. We are just going with the flow because that is who I am and how I work. I’ll let her tell you her story through her own words, but I’m going to provide the images. We hope to raise awareness for breast cancer genetic testing (did you know you can get tested for the gene?) because that saved her life.
I feel like I’ve already said too much. I’m not sure if people actually read my blog or if they just look at the pictures, but I’m hoping they read this. I am looking forward to sharing the love that creates this family. Here is an image from this past weekend.
Do you know what I see? A regular family…grandma in the kitchen making lunch, the kids climbing on the table, and mom shaving her head. Taking control of her hair before the chemo can. Powerful. Such a huge moment and life is just going on around them. It just doesn’t stop. Diane(Grandma–you’ll meet her, too) said to me while I was there ‘ You know, you can live your life waiting to die or you can just get on with the business of living.’ I’m thinking when you have three young kids, you don’t have a choice.
I can’t wait to share their journey with you. Right now, I wanted to also share the link to the blog their friends created. It was created to raise money so that this family could afford a nanny/caregiver while their mom is going through her treatment. If you so feel inclined, please donate. Such a small thing that I think will make a world of difference.
Personal projects are oh so important to photographers. I can’t tell you how much life this has breathed into me right now. So happy to have begun it. And, so thankful to the Brades for having the trust and the faith in me to do right by their story.
PS..because it was asked so quickly in the comments section…here is a link to the genetic testing we are talking about:
it is a test for a gene linked to heredity breast and ovarian cancer. I’m unsure about tests for other types of cancers, but I bet this website might have the answers you seek