candice: sweet 16 heart transplant celebration in downtown cleveland

February 7, 2018

Three letters make up a word we hear a lot: yes. For most people that word doesn’t mean much, but to someone who is waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, that one word means so much. And back on February 7, 2002, a family made the decision to say “yes” and gave Candice the gift of life through a heart transplant.

Fast forward to today and Candice is 16 years post-transplant– and that’s something to CELEBRATE!! And when she contacted me a few weeks ago to take photos of her “Sweet 16”, I couldn’t get her in front of my camera fast enough! For Candice’s actual 16th birthday, she was 4 months post-transplant and was in and out of the hospital suffering from rejection of her transplanted heart. Go ahead and re-read the previous sentence one more time and let that sink in for moment. Most 16 years olds are only concerned with one thing at that age: getting their driver’s license. But for Candice, she was focusing on staying alive.

I can not tell you how much it meant to me that I was able to document this special time for Candice in her transplant journey and I think she said it best: “We are not promised tomorrow but while we’re here, it’s important we find ways to live life to the fullest and celebrate these small milestones.” (I could not love this more.)

I was lucky enough to meet Candice a few years ago when I worked with Lifebanc, the non-profit in Northeast Ohio that promotes awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. For me, the work that I was able to do for Lifebanc and the amazing people I met along the way, were the highlight of my first job.

Happy Sweet 16, Candice! I hope you have the best day celebrating your heart day!!

2018-02-06_0010 2018-02-06_0003 2018-02-06_0004 2018-02-06_0001 2018-02-06_0007 2018-02-06_0005 2018-02-06_0006 2018-02-06_0002 2018-02-06_0009 2018-02-06_0008 2018-02-06_0013 2018-02-06_0011

I wanted to do something special for Candice for her photo shoot, so I contacted Brewnuts (an amazing donut & beer shop) to see if they could do a custom donut order! I firmly believe every birthday should be celebrated with donuts and candles!

2018-02-06_0016 2018-02-06_0012 2018-02-06_0014 2018-02-06_0015 2018-02-06_0017 2018-02-06_0019 2018-02-06_0022 2018-02-06_0020 2018-02-06_0018 2018-02-06_0024 2018-02-06_0021 2018-02-06_0023

If you aren’t a registered organ, eye and tissue donor already, please, please consider signing up here.

  1. Courtney Cannon

    February 7th, 2018 at 9:40 am

    This is incredible! What an awesome story and beautiful session! I love the donuts and her dress is GORGEOUS!!!

  2. Allison Ewing

    February 7th, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Thank you so much, Courtney!! I’m obsessed with her dress! And if you’ve never been to Brewnuts, I highly suggest it!!

  3. Ann Hanka

    February 7th, 2018 at 11:07 am

    What a beautiful story for a beautiful girl. Allison, your photographs and you’re blog is amazing.

  4. Allison Ewing

    February 7th, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Thank you so much, Ann!I really appreciate it!!

  5. Elizabeth

    February 7th, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    What a wonderful anniversary! Definitely worth celebrating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *