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.”
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.
Located along the awe-inspiring shores of the Florida Panhandle, the available beachfront properties that Waves of Grace have secured offer an uplifting respite from the demanding environment in which those battling cancer are often forced to endure. Their goal is to cover travel, accommodations, food, and any other expenses the families require to make the holiday as stress-free and memorable as possible. The folks at Waves of Grace are hopeful that a reconnection to that spiritual terrain where the sand meets the sea will go a long way towards improving the spirits of those who visit.
To help facilitate this restorative process and also ensure that none of these precious moments go undocumented, they’ve partnered with Pure 7 Studios to provide photographs that will forever offer a look back at this joyful interlude taking place during their most trying of times.
“I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.”
“Witnessing the change in demeanor of the patients and their families from the time they arrive until their departure is a humbling experience,” Ryan stated. “It’s truly nothing short of miraculous and I am blessed to be a part of their journey. Benefits of a stress-free environment combined with the unburdening of financial hardships can do wonders – both mentally and physically – for the patients and their families who are coping with the harsh realities of a cancer diagnosis.”
It’s plain to see that Ryan is enthusiastic about his contributions to Waves of Grace. His interactions with the families are compassionate and his attention to detail is part of what transforms his photographs into tangible heirlooms. He invests his spirit, creativity, and skill into every project. According to Ryan, “I know that I am truly living out God’s calling for my life through my work.”
Cancer is a fickle disease… it arrives unexpectedly and uninvited. Depending on the type, the survival rate can fluctuate but in any case, a cancer diagnosis is nothing if not disruptive. “To help someone escape from the bleak circumstance they’ve suddenly found themselves in is the least we can do as Christians,” Ryan said. “Some of these families do not know how much time they have left together. It’s my job, and my privilege, to capture the experiences that unfold here so that each one can be reminisced upon as often as the families desire.”
“I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
And he takes his job seriously. Ryan, a successful business owner and father of three, has made it his personal crusade to bring awareness to Waves of Grace in hopes that they may continue their charity work and grow as an organization. Furthermore, he has an innate talent for connecting with people and putting them at ease during each and every snapshot. To say that his heart is in it would be an understatement. “We want to inspire hope,” Ryan continued. “We want each of them to know that, though they’ve only just met us, we, along with many others, are beside them in their endeavor. Recovery can be possible and in the instances that it’s not, acceptance can be equally as powerful. The time they spend with us will be a reminder that there is love and support all around them and that laughter, relaxation, and happiness is still possible. And always will be.”
Too often we find ourselves absorbed in our own engagements and it’s all too easy to forget that each of us have the potential to make a noticeable difference in the lives of others. Ryan and the crew at Waves of Grace are a welcome reminder of exactly that.
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and according to the latest statistics, 14.1 million new cases were documented in 2012. The chances are that we all know someone who has been affected by this life-threatening disease. If you or someone you know would like to officially nominate a cancer patient currently undergoing treatment, please visit waves-of-grace.org to fill out a nomination form.
In addition, Waves of Grace will be accepting tax deductible donations in order to increase the number of families they are able to reach. With your support, we can all make a meaningful difference in the war against cancer. To find out how to donate, visit www.waves-of-grace.org.
“When you saw only one set of footprints in the sand, it was then that I carried you.”
– Footprints in the Sand