A Warrior's Story: Sharizan

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass
It's about learning to dance in the rain.
- Vivian Greene

"A single mother, fighting the biggest battle of her life."

Cancer.... it just creeps up on you, when you least expect it. It doesn't care if you are young or old; fat or thin; healthy or unhealthy. It doesn't care if you're white, brown, or yellow; rich or poor; good or bad... 

When I first read Sha's story through a friend's (Kimberly) dayre post, my heart instantly went out to her 4-year old. My first thought was... besides donating money, what else can I give? I reached out to Kim, who connected us ... and I had the honour of making memories for Sha and Aniq, her adorable son. 

For Sha, her journey began in April 2016. What she thought was pain, possibly caused by her pregnancy a few years earlier, was diagnosed by doctors as Stage 3 lung cancer. A surgery and bouts of chemotherapy later, she was given the all clear - NED (no evidence of disease).

6 months after, while at work, she suddenly collapsed and was taken into the hospital. Because she was a cancer survivor, doctors did a full scan. That was when they discovered that the cancer is back, this time with a vengeance.

"I was told that the cancer is not only back in my lungs, it has also metastasised to my brain. And when there is a relapse, the cancer is immediately classified as Stage 4," she told me softly.

What impressed me most about Sha ... She doesn't let the disease define her. She told her story without any anger or 'why me, why me'. Instead, what I sensed was her positivity, and her steely determination to overcome and survive this, for her son.

The relationship she has with Aniq, her 4-year-old little boy is also something so precious to photograph. "Aniq knows where my meds are, and he understands when I'm tired and need to rest. I'm very thankful for him." 

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Living with her parents, who are pensioners, Sha is the sole-breadwinner of her family. Her only hope of survival now is through monthly immunotherapy sessions, for at least 2 years. Unfortunately, these sessions are only available at private hospitals. This means, that they come with a heavy pricetag. With her insurance quota almost bursting, and a lack of funds, Sha chose to stop her sessions.

However, with her Give.Asia page set up by Kim, at the time of writing, enough funds have been raised for at least 2 immunotherapy sessions. If you can help, please continue to give and support. No matter how small the amount... a little bit goes a long way.

Shari + Aniq 31.jpg

HELP SHA BEAT THE BIG C
For every family portrait session in the months of September and October 2017, I'm giving RM200 into Sha's fund. So if you're looking at getting good family photos, while helping a little boy have his mother for longer... now is the best time :)

Family Portrait: The Wongs

Happiness is...
a BIG, CHAOTIC family!

A little boy, a little girl, a set of twin baby boys, their parents, their grandparents... I enjoyed every minute - yes even the sweaty ones - spent photographing, this loud, boisterous, and very friendly family. Their love and joy overflowed, and made me smile as I photographed them. There was never a dull moment!

Family Portrait: The Yaps

'Siblings share childhood dreams and grown up memories'

Expressive, endearing and blessed with the cheekiest smiles, it was such an adventure photographing this pair of siblings. 

I've been asked numerous times, what do you enjoy most about photography? Aren't you tired of chasing after the little ones? At times, I find myself struggling, just a little, to keep up with my tiny clients (they seriously can run circles around me). But when I photograph the genuine unscripted love connection ... like the image above - which is also one of my favourites from this session, my heart beats slightly faster, and my grin grows a lot wider.

Family Portrait: Twins Rule!

Double the trouble...
Double the fun!

Oh life is so much more fun when there are two of everything! This pair of just turned two year old energiser bunnies and their doting sweet big brother were the cutest! The babies just celebrated turning 2 the day before with a huge party - so they came with balloons and lots of pressies. They certainly kept me and their parents busy, running after them. 

Family Portrait: CSDEE

My big brother, my best friend

High energy, hilarious, and so completely lovable. I had the best time with these two little ones and their parents. There are definitely pros and cons when you've got siblings close to you in age. You fight, you make up, you share your deepest darkest secrets, you can scream at them the first minute, and hug them the next. No matter what, you're grateful for them.

Hello Bump: Cheang Maternity

A grand adventure is about to begin
- Winnie the Pooh -

Tim and Suwen are dear friends. We've been through so many things together. I've also photographed their engagement session, as well as coordinated their wedding. We usually do boardgames and coffee together... #itsbeensolong! When we were hanging out one day, we decided to do a quick 20-minute maternity portrait session with them. 

Engaged: #lexchun

This is love: To fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First to let go of life.
Finally, to take a step without feet.
- Rumi -

The social butterfly from Ipoh and the cheena boy from Penang. Who would have thought that when Alex and Rachel first met at RBS in 2003, they'd be getting hitched 14 years later?

A girl with one of the biggest hearts, Rachel and I go way back.... when we were still too young to remember, and only had photographs as proof we knew each other. We reconnected at the Residential Bible School, a month-long Christian camp, organised by the Inter-Brethren Assembly.

I was immediately drawn to her laughter, friendliness and good nature. Together with a few other girls, we would chat till way past lights-out, we'd sing and harmonise, as well as swap secrets in whispers. #thosewerethedays.

Since then, we've kept in touch, went out on dates, and have even taken a girly trip to Seoul. She's sensitive, compassionate, and very generous with her time. She's also an accomplished businesswoman. After several years moonlighting as a make-up artist and helping people plan weddings (my wedding being one of the first few she helped coordinate), she is now a full-time business owner/wedding planner extraordinaire at Pretty Little Things

Simple, easy-going, with the ability to make people laugh, Alex complements her completely. It also helps that they share a huge love for EATING, eating, and MORE EATING.

For this engagement session, they decided to take a trip down memory lane, back to where they first met - HCC, Cameron Highlands. :) Thank you loves for allowing me to capture your love. xx

Family Portrait: The Chews

Families are like fudge,
mostly sweet, with a few nuts.

"Hello, welcome!" that was Juin's first words to me.

When my husband first recommended that we tried a new cafe in Uptown, I was a little skeptical about the coffee it served (#coffeesnob). Little did I know that it would become one of our favourite cafes.

As I ingested a huge amount of coffee in our countless (almost once-every-two-days) coffee trips, a friendship began to form and grow with this very lovable, gorgeous inside out barista girl, Juin. Through our conversations, her love for her family shone through. Her face lit up as she spoke about the antics her many nieces and nephews get up to.

So when Juin asked me if I could take her family portraits, I couldn't wait to meet everyone.

Cake Smash: Baby C is ONE

"Have big dreams, you will grow into them."

Within the first 10 minutes of our session, the bubbly gorgeous miss C was already smiling, and crawling up to me, to touch my camera. Ah.. babies turning one.... just finding her feet, she breaks into the biggest smile when her parents cheered as she stood up unassisted, Babies learning how to walk are simply the cutest!