During the past few years, I have tried to use my passion for photography to help promote causes I feel strongly about. Whether for your church or other charitable and civic organizations, photography can tell a story that hopefully makes people sit back, take notice, and want to participate themselves.
On the last Saturday in January, I had the opportunity to tell a story with photos showing those fighting blood cancers, some literally in their own lives and some through donation of their time and money to help those fighting these cancers.
The event was the Big D Climb that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am a member of the North Texas Chapter board of trustees for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, so this is a cause close to my heart. Participants in this event climb 52 floors in the Fountain Place building in downtown Dallas raising money to fund patient services and research. Some participate for the athletic aspect of the event, others trying to promote teamwork in their organization and some because of a dear friend or family member that is dealing with leukemia or lymphoma in their lives. But all, regardless of their reason, help to raise money for a great cause.
It is hard to photograph an event that spans 52 floors of a large building, especially on the bottom floor where everything begins and on the 52nd floor where thankfully (for most people) it ends. Had I thought about it ahead of time, I would have recruited one or two other members of the photo club to help provide better coverage. Groups and individuals are milling around on the bottom floor waiting for their time to start, from first responders climbing the stairs in all of their heavy gear to those wearing the lightest of running outfits.
One of the key objectives, in photographing an event like this is, capturing images that show the stories of those that are in the fight against blood cancer. Included in that group was our honored hero for the event, Lainey Thomas, a beautiful 2-year-old girl who is currently in the middle of her treatments for leukemia, Dallas Police Department Senior Cpl. Curtis Steger, the father of Zach Steger, who is fighting lymphoma and “Julia’s Team”, the second grade classmates of Julia Brown, who is currently fighting her battle with leukemia. Last, but not least was Loan Huynh, a fellow member of the board of trustees and two-time survivor of leukemia, who had over 150 of her colleagues from Ivie, Inc. participating to support her. These are just a few of the people living with blood cancer that are being supported, but they and others like them are the reason over 1,300 people push themselves to complete the difficult climb.
I took over 700 photos, in 6 hours, to capture some of the moments and individuals that made the day special. The better ones are shared on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Big D Climb Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bigdclimb so participants can show their friends and family what the event is about and how they were able to support a great cause by taking on and beating the challenge of climbing 52 floors, all the while helping those fighting blood cancers to have a better chance of beating the disease.
So, my challenge for you is, look for opportunities wherever you are to use your photographic skills to promote an event or organization. You will find it a very fulfilling challenge.
(NOTE: I could not determine how to make photos show side by side on the page so the flow is not as smooth as I would have liked)
Very nice article, Mark. What an inspiration! Would love to help, any way I can, next time…just give me a holler.
Wonderful article and pics. I always love the volunteer things I shoot. Next year I would be honored to help in any way
Thanks so much for sharing Mark! I’m doing a volunteer event for Valentine’s day at my church, taking pictures of mostly older couples at a banquet…looking forward to the adventure!
Great article, Mark. Let me know next year and I might even try this climb myself. I would love to join you and take pics along the way up the stairs. Great job.
Great article and information. If you do it again, let me know. Would love to help.
Mark, this is so impressive. Both the article and pictures and that you did it. I think this would make such a good presentation at the club. I know you will have volunteers to help you next year. I just know you won’t ever have to do it alone again.