A Waves of Grace Shoot for Miss Macey and Her Family

When we discovered the Waves of Grace nonprofit organization, we knew we wanted to get involved and provide the families with a long lasting reminder of their meaningful family vacations. Waves of Grace sends cancer patients on vacations with their families so they can try to relax and step away from the stress that comes along with their fight with cancer. For some patients, these vacations are the last they will be able to take with their family. For Miss Macey Bodily, she and her family are still going through all the trials and tribulations that come along with a cancer diagnosis, but they’ve made some great progress and we hope to continue to watch her journey with positive updates!

Macey’s Story as Told by Her Mother

An MRI in February of 2014 found a massive tumor, the size of 2 golf balls in the middle of Macey’s brain, causing her blindness and some other issues as well! She was admitted to Doerenbechers Children’s hospital the very same day, and underwent cranial brain surgery 36 hours later. The surgery was 9 long hours, and her amazing surgeon Dr. Baird and her team were able to remove the tumor successfully! She lost her pituitary gland in the process and will require lifetime care for that. That is a life threatening condition, which we manage daily with medication. It is also life long condition. She will remain blind in one eye and need to wear glasses always to protect her good eye.

On August 5, 2015 we were told that Macey has a regrowth, detected by MRI, 2 tumors or 2 cystic tumors in the exact location as the first. We were given another brain surgery as the only option. That didn’t sit right. Through a support group we were led to St Jude. They are conducting trials on her specific tumor. In September we traveled to St Jude for a few weeks of testing and determined that Proton radiation would be the best answer as the doctors felt surgery was far to risky based on the location of the tumors. They were too close to her optic nerves and carotid arteries.

In October 2015, Macey and Mommy boarded a plane for 7 weeks of treatment at the University of Florida in Jacksonville Florida.

Macey tolerated the daily treatment like a champ. How she did it with a mask attaching her head to a table, wide awake for 30 treatments is beyond me. She had to lie perfectly still. Amazing for anyone, let alone a 7 year old little girl, whose mommy couldn’t go back with her.

We continue to travel to St Jude every 90 days and will for a year, after that we will go every 6 months for 4 years, then every year till she’s 18 if all remain status quo, After that she will enter the St Jude life program, where they will monitor her for her life. She still sees her doctor here at home as well. Needless to say, we see a lot of doctor offices.

In January and most recently, March 2016 her MRI’s determined she is stable, with no tumor growth! We are grateful. Her remaining vision is stable as well. We work daily to maintain her lack of hormones, which is a delicate balance and necessary to stay alive!

October 2016 Macey was diagnosed with stenosis of her carotid arteries. The original tumor backed up to and actually wrapped around both her carotid arteries. Thus the issue. It puts her at increased risk for stroke and a variety of other issues. Needless to say this took the wind out of our sails. Thankfully though, St Jude is following this closely, along with her neuro surgeon at Doernbechers who amazingly specializes in stenosis. Wow, right! As of now things are stable, which is the best we can hope for.

In Jan 2017 we added a new diagnosis to the list, narcolepsy. Wish I was kidding!

In Feb of 2017, Macey underwent another surgery this time to remove the metal hardware in her skull that was causing severe headaches as well as to reattach a temporal muscles flap that had detached after her first brain surgery. This isn’t altogether unusual on either count. It turned out to be a bigger surgery than we imagined, they reopened her entire incision from the original craniotomy. She has healed well.

Since October of 2016 Macey has just struggled overall with fatigue and headaches. The hardware removal helped the headaches, but the fatigue still lingers and has made school difficult…If she makes one full day a week, that’s great. We hope that this eventually will work itself out, but we just don’t know. So for now we take things day by day and thank God for all we have. This surely is a crazy adventure, or better yet a roller coaster we call life!

Overall we feel very blessed and supported. We are grateful to have our daughter!

Making Waves in the Fight Against Cancer

A Local Charity is Making Waves in the Fight Against Cancer

“As I was walking along the beach with my Lord… I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.”

Cancer leading cause of death waves of grace pure 7 studios photography charity fight

From the pristine waters of Miramar Beach, Florida to the pure white sands of Orange Beach, Alabama, something very special is transpiring. Small groups of charitable donors have joined hands to offer families dealing with a cancer diagnosis a much needed escape from their usual everyday routine. Waves of Grace, a non-profit organization, is providing patients who are undergoing cancer treatment, along with their families, an all-expenses-paid getaway to the tranquil beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in hopes that some sun and sand might help unburden them and offer some much needed healing.READ MORE

Waves of Grace| Ferris Owen Family Pictures

Most folks spend the day after Christmas relaxing with friends and family, grazing on leftovers and debating whether or not to start taking down the tree. The Owen family spent theirs elsewhere – not on the gorgeous beach you see in the adorable family pictures below, but in the emergency room in a state of shock.
Pure7 Studios Ferris Owen Family Pictures
To go from that setting to one of sugar sands and emerald waters in a span of six months is a gift that can only be fully appreciated by a family who survived the sudden storm of a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully, Waves of Grace was there to scoop them up and send them away for a week to catch their breath, to remember what it’s like to just be.


Waves of Grace | Lake Family Portrait

Although this is definitely the thick of family portrait season, we shoot them pretty much year-round. Such was the case with the Lake family, who enjoyed our beautiful beaches during the cooler months courtesy of Nashville-based Waves of Grace. This organization is one of several that provide beach vacations for families dealing with cancer, giving them a refreshing, life-giving change of pace from daily routines defined by medical appointments and prescription refills.
Though they love living in Nashville, Jennifer Lake said she and her husband Bruce were so happy to have some time away from cancer treatments to laugh together and relax with their daughters. The sobering reality of their life for the past year or so made them appreciate more than usual the opportunity for family photos.
“Having our family pictures taken is a gift we will treasure for the rest of all our lives,” Jennifer said. “We feel it is a gift to future generations of the family, as well.” And the Lake family certainly has had a huge impact on future generations. Though there are only four of them in the photos, the Lake family tree has had 22 other family members grafted into it for a very special reason.


Waves of Grace | Patrick Family Beach Portrait

It’s spring along our gorgeous Emerald Coast, which means there is no shortage of families frolicking on the beach at sunset. The beach portrait session families are easy to spot, as they’re the ones fully clothed with a photographer hovering nearby. Not all of the laughing families are on a carefree vacation, however. A few have arrived on the brink of utter exhaustion, grateful for the brief reprieve from a reality that has consumed every last ounce of energy and then some.


All families matter to us, but some hit our hearts harder than others. Sessions like this one with the Patrick family are the ones that leave a lump in our throat.


Pure7 Studios & Operation Smile | Show the Love

We’re in what’s known locally as “off-season.” Typically, that means things slow down a bit before the swirl of wedding season begins, before the arrival of all the fun families who visit our beautiful 30a beach community each year. We thought about taking a break before our packed spring calendar takes over, and then we got it – The Email.

That email brought an incredible opportunity to be part of something huge so we wasted no time in jumping on it. The great part is that it includes everything we love – cameras, travel, kids, adventure, and smiling (because smiling is our favorite!). But the best part? It’s something near and dear to our hearts that we can share with YOU, and we love finding ways to include you in our #pure7fam, whether you’re a local or a seasonal friend. Ready?

A few years ago, we hosted fundraising portrait sessions to help pay for cleft lip and cleft palet surgeries for kids whose families can’t afford them. You may not know that these deformities, ones that are fixed almost without thought in the United States, are literally life-threatening in other countries simply for lack of resources. This year, we are thrilled to get to physically visit a clinic and document these life-changing surgeries in person.


In about two weeks, our associate photographer Lindsey Bray will be packing her gear and heading to Cavite, Philippines! She’ll spend 10 days shadowing a medical mission team and shooting the incredible work done by Operation Smile. She’ll be blogging her trip, which we’ll share in a special series of posts, and her work will be published as part of a compilation celebrating both Operation Smile’s 35th anniversary and PPA Charities‘ 20th anniversary. READ MORE

Working with Waves of Grace

Today we’re sharing the family beach photos of families who came to Destin, 30A, or Panama City Beach on vacation with Waves of Grace. Our partnership with Waves of Grace is one we are both proud of and thankful for, and we get so much more out of these sessions than we could ever possibly give.

Waves of Grace is a non-profit providing beach vacations to cancer patients and their families.  They want to give these families an opportunity to come to the beach without the stresses of life at home or the worries of budgeting for a trip while medical costs pile up. As part of their trip they get a professional photographer to take family beach photos of them; that’s where we come in. It’s a pretty new organization, so we’ve watched them grow sending more families to our beautiful Emerald Coast. To learn about how you can donate or nominate someone who could use a trip for family fun and healing, please visit their website.

The first family photographed below is the Griers. They were given a beach vacation after three year old Faith went into remission and became a cancer survivor for the second time. Most of her life she’s faced sickness, pain, and suffering – yet in every photo she is smiling. We look at their family photos in awe. A picture can say a thousand words and none of theirs let on to the hardships and uncertainty they’ve faced over the past three years. As parents, Tiffany and Michael inspired us so much. It’s impossible to imagine what they’ve experienced and overcome together. May their best days be ahead.

We were also lucky enough to meet Jon and Robyn, as well as the Spivey family (both pictured below), while taking family beach portraits during their Waves of Grace vacations.  Not pictured are several other families photographed more recently, and we look forward to sharing their images as well in a future post. Spending time with these famililes reminds us how easy it is to get “busy” and lose sight of what really matters in life. Meeting the families WOG sends to our beaches helps us keep perspective here at Pure7 Studios. We hope you enjoy these images as much as we were blessed to create them.

Thank you, Waves of Grace, for giving us the opportunity to meet these families!

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Morgan Freeman Celebrity Dinner | Destin Event Photographer

This past summer, Pure 7 Studios and Pure7 Films were honored to be a part of the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown Celebrity Dinner, hosted by Lynn & Steve Dugas at their home in Santa Rosa Beach.  They treated their guests to an amazing dinner from Emerald Coast Catering, entertainment by The Voice’s Geoff McBride, and an evening with the guest of honor, Morgan Freeman.  The dinner raised an astounding $80,000 for the local Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center charity.

The Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown is a local fundraising event comprised of several components and live auction items — one of which was a celebrity dinner with Morgan Freeman.  Sandestin locals, Valerie & Mike Thompson, graciously open up their home each year for this incredible event, and to date, have raised over $1.6 million dollars, with 100% of the proceeds benefitting local charities.

We were so thrilled to be a part of this event, and loved having the opportunity to meet Mr. Freeman.  For more details on these great events, check out the article by Proffitt PR in the latest issue of VIP Destin Magazine!

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operation smile 2012

as a proud member of the ppa (professional photographers of america), we had the wonderful opportunity to host a fundraiser through their charity division (ppa charities) for operation smile, who provides cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to children in need.  on saturday april 21, we joined other portrait photographers all over the country in hosting an all-day event in our studio for new and old clients.  on this day, each person who gave a minimum donation of $24 was in return gifted with a 10 minute mini session at our destin studio and a complimentary 5×7 fine art portrait (or digital file if image was a head-shot for professional use).  this was our first year participating in the fundraiser and it was a huge success!  on saturday alone we raised enough money to give 10 surgeries to children across the globe in need!  we received many outside donations from those that were unable to attend and many of those that did attend gave more than the minimum donation.  the final count for our funds raised will be officially announced on our fan page next week, as we’ve still got some donations trickling in.  here are some portraits captured of those that are the reason this event was such a success.  thanks again to all that participated and donated to the cause, we loved meeting and photographing you and your families!

photography provided by destin photographers, pure 7 studios

food, wine, rentals, and florals graciously donated by:

sweet for sirten

marlin grill

jim ‘n nick’s  bbq

florals by the sea

rsvp weddings

chez renee

shelby peaden events


Destin Portrait Photography