Photography by Kelly Lynne Fotos
Meet Valerie. She is Beauty Revived.
My sister Valerie graduated from Chaparral High school in 2016. For most High school seniors, the last year consists of going to every football game, joining clubs that cater to your interests, looking forward to Homecoming and Prom and trying to enjoy every last minute of your adolescence before venturing off into adulthood. It is a year that every High school student deems as memorable. As the school year started in August of 2015 my sister was so excited and had a goal that this year was going to be the best and most memorable year of her High school career. One month after school had started, Valerie was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. My family and I could not comprehend how Valerie the sweetest, selfless and kind hearted person (she really is!!) could have cancer. I was worried how my sister would react to this life changing news. Valerie can be very soft spoken and shy. I immediately thought I have to teach her to be strong. The reality is that over the past year Valerie would be the one to in fact teach my family and me what the definition of that word really means.
As Valerie did her first day of Chemo, it affected her body right away. She could barely walk and eat. That first day even though she knew it would hurt her stomach she forced herself to eat and got up and even though she could barely stand she danced with my dad to rehearse a dance for five minutes. I was moved to tears because she mustered up every ounce of energy she had to dance. She would perform this for her homecoming dance that we held at our house with all her friends, because she missed it at school. I was in complete awe at my sister’s determination to fight this battle. There was no way she was going to let this cancer rob her of her senior year. This was not what most consider an ideal last year of High school. Most teenagers are worried about boys or freak out if they have a bad hair day, typical issues for a seventeen girl. But Valerie had a unique situation, she was fighting for her life. While most teenagers complain about how they dread school, Valerie was home schooled waiting for the day she could once again be in a classroom with her peers. Something so normal that most children don’t even think to appreciate or miss but Valerie wanted so desperately to go back to going to her six period routine. Her goal was that she was going to go back to school and finish and walk at her graduation. By January of 2016 Valerie was declared cancer free and finished her semester with a 4.0 g.p.a. She would finished out her school year cancer free and achieve her goal of walking with her cap and gown to receive her diploma.
One month after Valerie graduated from High school she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. Of course this was shocking and heartbreaking. Valerie and I had a conversation about how she felt about this. She told me “Michelle, I just want to do what I need to do, so this can be over”. Wow, I was incomplete shock. She once again brought me to tears with her fearlessness and ample amount of strength. Some would say Valerie has every right to be angry or depressed, and of course there are times where she has experienced it. But instead she is humble. She has said many times that “it could be worse”, and that at least her cancer has a high recovery rate. Valerie is the definition of strong and courageous. I always say we need more people like my sister in this world, because through all this hardship in her life she always sees the positive in every situation thrown her way. She is a giver. Her Make A Wish was to receive video/photography equipment to be able to document her journey to help others going through the same or simpler experience. Currently she is finishing her bone marrow transplant. A new beginning to her new healthy life and of course she is taking this challenge with humbleness and grace, all while having that sweet contagious smile that I love so much.
About the Photographer
Hi I’m Kelly Lynne, I specialize in High School Seniors & Teen Photography. I’m a mom of 3 handsome boys and 1 beautiful little girl. I live in sunny Southern California. I’m a story teller and feel honored to share my clients stories. I believe everyone is unique and has a story to share. I feel blessed to do what I love everyday and the opportunity to get to know so many amazing teens & parents.