Artist Helps Sick Children’s Imaginations Come To Life

Other photographer’s images may be worth the proverbial 1,000 words, but Shawn Van Daele’s really only going for one.

The word is hope, and it’s the motivating force behind his Drawing Hope Project. The project is an imaginative undertaken whereby Van Daele meets up with children suffering from a variety of illnesses and ailments. He makes them the subject of a photo shoot. They, in turn, give him details of a story, dream or wish.

Depending on details the children supply, Van Daele will then use a little photo editing trickery to turn them into everything from princesses to pirates, so that they’re no longer bound by oxygen tanks and doctor visits and daily prescriptions. In Van Daele’s images, at least, the children are masters of their own magical realm.

At the moment, he’s preparing to release a storybook this summer featuring the first 27 children photographed. His mother is helping to write it, and proceeds will be split with the causes related to the children captured in its pages. Already, for example, Van Daele has used the project to spur greater awareness of the importance of registering to be an organ donor.

Meanwhile, Van Daele also is working on finding a way to pursue the Drawing Hope Project full time. Until he gets there, he’ll keep shooting and going out one-on-one to meet children that, through his pictures, he wants to help take to infinity and beyond.

“I have a very hard time saying no to anyone,” Van Daele tells Hooplaha. “Children with life-threatening illnesses I try to work with as soon as possible. As many are located all over the world, I try and work with various families at one time when I am in their area.

“The finished photo is always inspired entirely by the drawing the child sent in. If there’s a rainbow-colored octopus in the drawing, there will be one in the photo. It’s all about letting them see their imaginations come to life.”

Van Daele began the Drawing Hope Project in April 2012. In one of the resulting images, a young girl he photographed stands defiant, hands on her hips. Her superhero uniform includes a logo on her chest and a red skirt, and there’s a cape floating behind her. Farther back is a giant sandcastle, the highest point of which includes the word: “Hope.”

In other Drawing Hope Project photos, a young boy wearing glasses Van Daele photographed beams as he leaps into the air waving a wand, his magical abilities resulting in a floating swirl of people, objects and a house dancing fancifully around him in the image.

The children, whose days otherwise include complications like chemotherapy and transplants, are encouraged by the photographer to focus instead on their dreams and imagination. It’s a fitting project for Van Daele, whose own early years were marked by a fascination with things like fairy tales and Choose Your Own Adventures books.

Through his photography project, he’s now sprinkling some of the same pixie dust from his own youth among children today who deserve to be reminded about the power of their own imagination.

“I really had come to a point in my life where I wanted and needed to give something back, to show gratitude for everything I've been given in my life,” he said.

“I wanted to do something with my creative abilities that would make people smile, inspire them, and was fulfilling my own need for a creative outlet at the same time.  Being able to do something you love with the tools you've been given, that in turn can change someone's life for the better, is the best possible use of your skills and gifts.  I wanted to bring awareness to rare diseases and conditions, and everything fell into place.  I wanted to inspire the magic of childhood and let kids and their families who could use a little happiness in their life see that anything is possible.”

You can check out more images from the Drawing Hope Project on its Facebook page.

 

 

Funeral Therapy Dog Turns Sadness Into Smiles

I honor of "Take Your Dog To Work Day" on June 21st, OnlyGood.Tv would like to introduce you to Lulu.

Lulu is a very special kind of therapy dog. Funerals are an extremely hard time for the family and friends of a lost loved ones. The Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services is a caring and compassionate funeral home that guides families to a meaningful ceremony to honor the life and memory of a loved one. The owner, Matthew Fiorillo, realized the power his dog Lulu could have in helping people in their time of need. "People love Lulu," he said. "She's been a great addition to our team. She has an uncanny knack for knowing who needs her."

Keep reading... Show less
Fans' Top 5 Hits

Love Yourself: The Naked Photoshoot

Morgan Cuffie, wearing only a robe, stands in front of the camera. She is in a studio with Dr. Stacy Berman, the creator of the 'Love Yourself: The Naked Photoshoot' program, because she had spontaneously agreed to go for it and pose. Now, a million thoughts are running through her head. "You feel this trepidation…and… like…wait…should I be doing this?" she recalled. "There's definitely a point where you forget you're naked. You have complete awareness and no awareness at all. You know that you are naked but you just don't care."

Keep reading... Show less

Skid Row Carnival Highlights Help for Homeless

Skid Row – the image that immediately comes to mind is not pretty… a desolate street with boarded up windows…downtrodden people lurking in the shadows...broken glass…darkness…despair…

The Skid Row Carnival of Love is an initiative that is working to change all that. Its goal is to build community by providing resources and love to an often forgotten, and overlooked sector of one our largest cities: Los Angeles' homeless population of Skid Row. For one day, it's all about unconditional love and coming together as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E2) – A Perfectly Imperfect Relationship

From the very first day that Heather and Christen physically bumped one another at a local bar on Long Island, these two women knew that there was something special between them. In this episode of The Creation Of Us, each shares some of the stories that have taken them from those first charged moments of a new relationship to a life where they share a home, 3 dogs, and a commute to an office where they literally work back to back in the same room!

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E1) – Meet Christen and Heather

Christen Samuels and Heather Fazzino both grew up in strong, opinionated, Italian families. Old school. Traditional. This made things a bit more strenuous for these women on their road to becoming a couple. In this first episode of the new season of The Creation Of Us, Christen and Heather share the stories of how they grew up, the people around them who were major influences, and the key moments each experienced that made them realize they were different.

Keep reading... Show less

PRIDE! In Provincetown - FEC Family Week

OnlyGood TV embraces diversity and supports dignity, equal rights and self-affirmation! We are celebrating PRIDE Month by sharing inspiring stories that feature our LGBTQIA+ community.

Family Week is one of the preeminent events of the non-profit advocacy group, Family Equality Counsel. The group advocates for equality for the LGBTQ community and Family Week in Provincetown, MA is an opportunity for families to come together from all over the country to find support and community with other like-minded and alternative families.

Keep reading... Show less

A Dog’s Journey Home (E10) – Prepping the Pittsburgh Puppies

How do you keep 62 dogs in a van happy and comfortable on a 1,600 mile journey? In this episode of A Dog's Journey Home, Scott Whyatt, co-founder of Tracy'sDogs, shares his secrets for caring for all of these pups as they set out for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where their new, loving families anxiously await their arrival.

Keep reading... Show less

WWII Vet Runs Cross Country to Save His D-Day Ship

Ernie Andrus, now in his 90's, is running cross-country to raise money in order to put the LST 325, the ship he served on in the Navy during WWII, back on the beach in Normandy where it supported the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

This LST 325 is the only LST ship left (out of 1,051 made) that has been fully restored and still operational. Plans were initially made for a D-Day memorial service in 2014 for the ship, but it was canceled because of a shortage of finances. This inspired Ernie to start a project called, Coast2Coast Runs to raise money to honor his old ship.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter