Little Children battling cancer are the real warriors as they spend priceless moments of their childhood in hospital beds instead of playing outside.
A 5-year-old girl diagnosed with rare kidney cancer was able to forget her health challenges for a while and transformed into a Disney princess for a photo shoot of one photographer.
Disney photo shoot
Ryan Taft said the chance of watching his daughter Arianna dress up as her favorite Disney princess in a one in a lifetime photo shoot was an unforgettable experience for him. “To see her dressed as her favorite magical princess and all the other ones is just incredible,” he said.
“I look at the photos and I know it’s Ari, I know it’s my daughter, but it literally looks like she could be starring in her own movie, which is just super special and amazing.” The proud dad said. Arianna got all dressed up as Snow White, Belle, Elsa, and Merida courtesy of photographer Ashley Richer who’s been donating themed photo shoots since 2018 to children with cancer. She was inspired to do it after her son’s best friend Lia passed away from cancer in 2017.
“She lost her battle right before she turned two. And after that, I just knew I had to do something like, what can I do to help these kids when they’re sick?” she recalls. “I decided to do what I know best, which is creating magic from a camera.” She added, “It wasn’t until I started doing these sessions that realized that this was exactly what I was meant to do,” Richer adds. “Just make other people’s lives better by something so simple as taking a photo and then just being creative with it.”
When a client told her about Arianna, she immediately offered to do her photo shoot. “She had a 13-centimeter tumor on her kidney,” Ryan shares, “They removed the tumor and the kidney, and the surgery was a success, but she still had cancer on her other kidney, her lungs, her liver, her lymph nodes.”
The harsh chemotherapy and radiation made Arianna lose her hair and that prompted Ryan and his girlfriend, Taylor Seaboyer, to also shave their heads. “Taylor was actually the first one,” Ryan explains. “And Ariana got to cut her hair and do all of that, and she loved the process.”
Richer got in touch with Arianna’s dad Ryan, and bought all of her favorite outfits and planned the magical photo shoot. She snapped the little girl in front of a green screen, in various princess outfits and poses and later Richer edited them to fit with the specific Disney film. Like just another girl her age, Arianna was feeling shy initially but her family says the “silly, happy” girl was a ‘natural’ in front of the camera. “Instantly like she was a model, like having so much fun, smiling the entire time,” Seaboyer says.
Ryan also adds, “She just looks like Elsa, when she gets her magic powers and she’s just conjuring up a storm. That is everything that Arianna’s embodied since that movie came out.” He adds, “I know we’ve been smiling nonstop since she got to go down there,” he says. “It really is one of the big bright spots throughout her treatment process.”
Richer says Arianna will hold a special place in her heart forever. “She is just the sweetest little thing,” Richer shares. “She is now a friend for me for life. She’s awesome.” As Arianna is completing her chemotherapy, Ryan says she is the strongest person he knows and is sending an important message to other children as well. “You hear cancer and you think all the bad things that are associated with it, but… she hasn’t allowed a single day to be difficult,” he explains. “You can’t look at her and see what she’s going through and not feed off of that strength.”
Ryan adds, “To see her do something that’s really like a once-in-a-lifetime experience just puts into perspective to enjoy all the little things, but also the big things, and to really focus on the positive,” Ryan adds. “She’s just representative of bald is beautiful and bald can be a Disney princess, and she’s loving on every minute of it.”