While at a scheduled check-up in March 2016, we received news that our 3 year-old daughter, Ruby, had metastatic melanoma. The news that she had Stage IV cancer sank hard and fast, only two weeks removed from a care-free birthday. 

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Since then, my wife and I have been through heaven and hell with her, constantly worrying if this will be the last holiday or last birthday with her. We are so thankful that she is not only still with us, but feeling great. 

But one of the most shocking things we’ve discovered on this journey is seeing how little funding and research goes into pediatric cancer.  I was stunned to learn that of the $4.9 billion National Cancer Institute (NCI) budget, only 4% went to research childhood cancer. That really hit me hard, especially when I broke it down a bit. 

Think of it in these terms:

  • 4% of an 8-hour night of sleep is only 19.2 minutes.
  • 4% of the weekend is only 2 hours. 
  • 4% of a $50,000 salary is only $2,000.

Four percent is not much. And when your child is the one with cancer, it certainly doesn’t feel sufficient.

A Vision of Giving

As a father and parent of a child with cancer, I wanted to help make a difference not only in her life, but in the lives of others as well.  Even though I am just one person, I am going to make a difference in helping fund more research for childhood cancer. Here’s how:

I have been a wedding photographer for several years, and I have decided to use what I have and what I know to hopefully make an impact for my daughter and thousands of others just like her. 

Therefore, with each wedding booked, I will be donating $300.00 to childhood cancer research.
In addition, with each family session booked, I will donate one family session to a child with cancer.

I know it’s not a truckload of money, but I want to help contribute to finding cures and treatments to help children with cancer. I also hope this will be a rallying cry for others who would like to join the cause for kids in their on-going fight for their lives. 

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Ways You Can Help

I am asking you to help me promote this cause to people you know – family, friends, associates, clients, vendors, etc. The more people we can share this with, the more kids we can help.

There are several ways you can do this:

  1. Broadcasting a message to those in the wedding industry. Since I am wedding photographer, I figured the best people to start with will be those in my industry, specifically people like wedding planners, reception/event centers, caterers, florists, etc.  Send them a link to this page with a brief note to explain your feelings on what we are trying to do. Or send me their contact information and I am happy to reach out and contact them.

  2. Connecting me with other people that would like to get involved. Are there people/companies that you know that would be interested in helping out? Who do you know that is passionate about helping kids with cancer? Do you know someone that has already been affected? If so, I’d like to talk to them. Through special events and charitable giving, we can help companies and individuals engage with the community in a positive and impactful way.

  3. Share on social media or via other media outlets. Connect with friends, family, neighbors to help spread the word about our mission, ask for help in getting involved, or encourage volunteers to help out with an upcoming special event. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this!  As a father, I am trying to do what I can for my daughter and others in the same boat. If you can help me promote this cause, please contact me to discuss and to plan accordingly.

Mark Thackeray
801.633.1853
shootme@pier23photography.com

P.S. For more details on Ruby’s story and journey, click HERE