A picture is worth a thousand words and brings back a million memories. For cancer patients and their families, capturing precious moments through family photographs is priceless.
In 2015, we began collaborating with Waves of Grace, a 501c3 non-profit that sends cancer patients and their loved ones on all-expenses paid, respite beach vacations. They believe rest is essential to fighting any disease, and laughter and making memories with loved ones is some of the best medicine there is. Through these vacations, Waves of Grace provides an avenue for families to leave cancer at home while experiencing experience rest, relaxation, hope, and peace. When Jennifer, founder of Waves of Grace, approached us looking for a photographer to photograph one of their families, the answer was an obvious, blessed yes!
So far, we have worked with 20 families, and these have been the most rewarding photoshoots. To make these shoots and photos successful, Make & Stow has donated photo boxes, and Simply Color Lab has donated prints. It is difficult to describe in words the humbling feeling of being able to give these families something tangible that captures a moment in time, something that will be treasured forever. Sometimes, this is the last family vacation they will take and other times they are celebrating recovery, but in every case, the love and joy that radiates through each of these families is incredible and is evident even in photos. These sessions also help gain a perspective on the beauty of life. Witnessing these Waves of Grace families who truly enjoy themselves and laugh in the midst of what they are going through is inspiring.
We love sharing the work of this wonderful organization, and we are excited to continue to work with Waves of Grace as they strive to provide light and joy to families experiencing the trials and challenges that come with cancer.
Jennifer and her husband, Mike, established Waves of Grace two years after Jennifer’s mother passed away from gastric cancer. Her family spent a lot of time at the beach, and owned a condo in Orange Beach, AL. Jennifer’s mom went to the condo every chance she got. She said she felt closest to the Lord at the beach and would go between treatments, returning renewed and ready for whatever was next in her fight with cancer. Waves of Grace serves families who are going through the same difficult experiences and provides a way to share the benefits that Jennifer, her mother, and her family received at the beach.
The purpose behind the vacations through Waves of Grace is to provide an opportunity for cancer patients and their families to leave the doctors, hospitals, and treatments behind for a week to rest, relax, renews, restore, and be together and feel a sense of freedom that may be difficult to get at home. The family receives a week free of expenses, including accommodations, travel, food, and of course, a beach photo session to remember this special time together.
Since its inception in 2014, 51 families have benefited from an all-expenses paid vacation from Waves of Grace. The long-term mission is to reach as many families needing a vacation as possible. To help fund the vacations, they train and fundraise for a half marathon, where funds are raised to get through a year of expenses. Additionally, the first annual Waves of Grace Herb Lee Golf Classic will be held on October 1, 2018, to raise funds for more beach vacations while remembering the first vacation recipient who passed away in 2015.
Waves of Grace has also started a respite beach house fund to build a dedicated home on the beach for these families. While Waves of Grace currently works with property owners all along the Gulf Coast that donate weeks to the organization, they are also hoping to build a home on the beach that can accommodate any cancer patient no matter their need. This home would include an elevator, ramp to the beach, and anything else that delicate recipients might need.
The organization’s biggest need is additional property owners to work with them to donate weeks. They are grateful for any number of weeks donated! Of course, Waves of Grace is always taking donations to help support the cause. Businesses have the opportunity to become corporate sponsors during the Gulf Half Marathon training and charity golf event.
How you can help:
- Make a one-time or recurring donation
- Donate to support their long-term vision of building a respite beach home
- Become a corporate sponsor
- Share your beachfront properties by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
- Join TEAM WAVES when you sign up for the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon
Follow Waves of Grace:
- Instagram: @waves.of.grace
- Twitter: @wavesgrace
To learn more about nominating a cancer patient for a beach vacation, visit the Waves of Grace website.
Waves of Grace in the news: read more here.