“Kindness is tenderness. Kindness is love, but perhaps greater than love…Kindness is good will. Kindness says, ‘I want you to be happy’.” ~ Randolph Ray
I first launched this ‘Give-Away’ competition back in 2013 and I can’t possibly post about this year’s competition without taking you back to 2013 and explaining what went on that year. You’ll understand why. Stay with me…
The rules were simple. ‘ like’ my page and tell me why you deserve to win a photo session with me.
The posts started flooding in and they were –
“The only way I could even get my whole family to be photographed together, would be if I told them that Sarah Raanan was the photographer. So if we don’t win. I won’t get any photos of my whole family together !”
“Sarah Raanan is the most AMAZING photographer, and we would be so lucky to have a round of family photos taken by her! That’s why we should win!!”
“Last summer, while we were sleeping, someone broke into our home and stole our laptop – we lost all our thousands of family photos – births, birthdays, fun times…everything To win a photo shoot would mean so much to us!”
How was I going to choose?
Then this hit my page:
“Hi Sarah. I would love to win a mini session. I have stage four breast cancer and would love to have some professional photographs taken with my five year old daughter for her to remember me by.
I had to read it many times over and digest. I knew Nicole, but not well enough to have stayed in touch regularly and to know how sick she was. That clearly was it for me. A ‘no brainer’. I had my winner.
Then something amazing and utterly unexpected started happening..
People started liking Nicole’s post and ‘voting’ for her (114 people to be exact), thanks to a totally unsolicited post from a wonderful client of mine, Sarah Kaye.
Sarah just decided that Nicole (who she didn’t even know) really really deserved this session and that because of this, she should round up her FB friends to come vote for Nicole (even though I hadn’t even suggested voting as part of the rules!)
How utterly beautiful is that?….
I was telling my amazing and talented friend Devorah Kur about this story a few days later and she leapt straight in and said “you must get Nicole to call me; I want to give her a free Reflexology session!”.
How it made my heart soar just thinking about how loving people can be to someone that they’ve never even met, and how it is our natural desire to reach out and connect with people in an attempt to help them heal. To just give love.
“The highest form of wisdom is kindness”
We waited a long time for the session; Nicole wanted to be feeling and looking good, and so many damn chemo treatments just kept standing in her way. She was particularly desperate for her hair to grow back fully, not to have to have photos taken with a scarf on her head.
So we waited, and we talked about it, and we planned. A year later, in December 2014, the day finally came. It really was magical. The sun was shining, Nicole’s hair was soft and long, there were giggles & silliness & the photo session was everything I imagined it would be for them both.
I wrote about it in this blog post, which was 3 years ago already:
Tragically, in January 2016 I wrote about Nicole again:
“ In the early hours of the morning, one of my favorite clients passed away after a long and fierce battle with cancer. Just over a year ago, I had the immense privilege of photographing Nicole and her daughter Tal.
At the time of the session, Nicole expressed how important those photos were to her, a truly happy memory to leave behind for her beautiful daughter. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotion I felt at that session, and that I’m feeling now.
I’m reposting the blogpost now and remembering a very special person..”.
1,921 people clicked on to read about Nicole’s session and to see her beautiful images. And so many people messaged me, people who never knew Nicole, and a few that did, to say how tragic the story was and how happy they were that we managed to capture these photos for her daughter to keep forever:
“You caught the love between Nicole and her daughter and these photos will be forever cherished by all. What a bond and such lovely memories!!!!”
So, I’m launching this photo session give-away again this year, later on this week. But before I do that, I just wanted to write & tell you all about that year that changed the way that I feel about this Give-Away, forever.
It made me think so much more about the importance of kindness; of giving for the sake of giving, without needing anything in return, about the incredible happiness you can feel by just knowing that you have made someone else happy. And of the many ripples that kindness causes.
‘Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.’ ~ John Wesley
It’s time to start spreading some happy ripples 🙂
Stand by for the 2017 Photo-Session Give-Away coming very soon!