Our foundation, Braden's Hope For Childhood Cancer, www.bradenshope.org, and Sporting KC www.sportingkc.com hosted our photo shoot for our 2014 A Year Of HOPE Calendar! This calendar features 12 childhood cancer heroes and 12 Sporting KC stars have their pictures taken by DeCloud Studios and the resulting calendar is going to be AMAZING! It will be available in September.
(In August, we will do our photo shoot with the KC Royals and it will be available in September as well.)
This year, we are doing the photo shoots at the stadiums (WOO HOO) so we headed out to Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas for a day of fun.
First, I have to tell you that my friend, Jenny Grindel, did an amazing job of organizing everything. The Sporting KC contact we worked with was also absolutely incredible!
Jenny and I spent the entire morning with the photographers and in the stadium setting things up and it was rather surreal. We felt like we were welcomed as if we were in someone's home. It was simply unbelievable and very cool.
We had the BEST volunteers working that day to help with the photographers and families. They made it SO very special for everyone! We really can't thank them enough!
At about 1:00, the heroes and families got to the stadium and then the players arrived and it was a PARTY!!
I cannot adequately describe the smiles, laughter, and silliness. It was PRICELESS!!!
And the cuteness...off the scale! The photographers got some amazing shots.
Each of the players spent quite a bit of time with the heroes and their families. Siblings were invited to be a part of the calendar shoots too because we believe that when a child gets cancer, the whole family deals with it and it's especially tough for siblings. They are ALSO our heroes! :)
And we took a family shot for them to have as well! Those won't be in the calendar but we want them to have a shot for their own use.
The players were so very gracious. They sat and talked and giggled and played with our heroes. How cool is it to be able play soccer with some of the BEST soccer players in the world on their own field?? Now THAT is a memory the kids and their families will have forever! TAKE THAT cANCER!!!
This day is about much more than just getting pictures for the calendar. It's about the EXPERIENCE!
It's about the chance to watch Graham Zusi sweetly pat the head of his little hero Calin, Aurelein Collin sweeping away the hair that the wind was blowing in Jenna's eyes, Jimmy Nielsen autographing Joseph's bald head, Seth Sinovic playing soccer with a big group of kids, CJ Sapong dancing with the heroes in the cafeteria, Benny Feilhaber sitting across the table from his heroes chatting for a long time, Chance Myers playing basketball with Ciara, Kei Kamara being so much fun and so silly that a very sweet and shy Aspen couldn't help but smile, Teal Bunbury making Isa giggle during their press interview room shoot so hard I think she had a tummy ache, Mikey Lopez making Tabby's dream come true, Matt Besler and Isaac kicking around a ball, and Jacob Peterson taking a personal interest in his hero's talents!
The biggest smile of the day was mine because I know that as much as this meant to our families, and as much fun as our heroes with the players...the guys had about a million times BETTER time with the kids! And they learned about childhood cancer and WHO it affects.
And they CARE!! They honestly care about these kids!!!
THAT is what these photo shoots are about.
The calendars are a really nice thing...but I WISH I could adequately describe the fun these kids have during those shoots. Imagine having an all access pass to personalized time with someone famous! THAT is what these kids got thanks to the amazing generosity and kindness of Sporting KC and their players!!
I took my camera and took a few pictures and I have some pics that were posted that weren't mine and I will share them with you! I'm not a real photographer so they are not all that good but it will give you a little sneak peek at some of the faces you'll see. The REAL photos are 1,000,000,000,000 times better!
(I was also in mom role so I didn't get to every shoot and there are a lot of pics of Braden. ;) I'll apologize now! LOL!)
This day ROCKED!! Say it with me..."TAKE THAT cANCER!!!"
And here is a video link of the shoot that Sporting KC made...it's BEAUTIFUL!! Please share it if you agree!! :)