Meet Halina: #thebeautifulsoulmovement
This sweet girl... oh my heart! There truly are no words to describe what it was like to spend time getting to know Halina and her amazing family. Maybe it was the way her eyes lit up when I smiled at her and said, "hello beautiful"... or maybe it was the way she looked at her Mom and Dad and showed me her best smile when they asked for "bunny teeth"- either way she captured my heart immediately. Her story and life are just as remarkable as her beauty, inside and out.
This past fall some photographer friends of mine in the Chicagoland area started spreading plans for #thebeautifulsoulmovement across national and local networking groups online. Jessica Weinstock Photography shared a gorgeous black and white image with a caption for her vision for gifting free portrait sessions to families to help start a movement of "showing the beauty of a child’s soul no matter what their circumstances are."
It was an absolute honor to receive an email with a nomination for Miss Halina and meet her in my Naperville Photography Studio for a portrait session.
Halina is a strong, sweet and joyful 4 1/2 year old. Within the first year of her birth she was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome. Leigh Syndrome is a very rare terminal degenerative neurological disorder (estimated to affect about 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 40,000 people at birth. Mitochondrial DNA-associated Leigh syndrome, which is more rare than nuclear gene-encoded Leigh syndrome, is likely to occur in about 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 140,000 births). Halina's Mom shared with me how truly remarkable her sweet girl is, as most infants diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome don't make it past 2-3 years old. Halina is defying all odds and proving to her doctors that hope and strength in God's plan can't be measured in medicine.
As with any rare condition, awareness is key as there is currently no cure. Halina's Mom and Dad hope her spirit and attitude can encourage other parents going through similar situations to never believe what doctors tell you but instead let their kids drive their destiny.
Thank you to Halina and her family for allowing me to be a small part of sharing her story! I'm still accepting nominations for #thebeautifulsoulmovement this winter. Do you know of a child who has a condition or special needs but may struggle to smile some days or see that light within themselves? Nominate them for a complimentary studio session, with digital images included so they can see how truly beautiful they are! These sessions will take place throughout the winter and early spring, I can't wait to share more amazing stories of these kids soon!
Please send your nominations including a little tidbit about the child along with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org - If you don't have someone to nominate, please at least share this post to help spread the word!
Together, we can make a positive change in how children see beautiful.✨