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.”

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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.

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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.
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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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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