I don’t even remember where I first heard this, but one piece of life advice I’ve received over the years is to pause and always appreciate where you are. Every day we can get so caught up in the places we need to be, the deadlines we need to meet that we miss the beautiful things that happen around us.
That’s part of the reason I support Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Prom. This is a program that invites any Children’s Hospital patient (inpatient or outpatient) who is 14 years or older to attend. It is designed to provide teen patients with the same experiences many other teens take for granted. For a few brief moments, it’s a way to forget about their illness, treatments and experience the normalcy of teenage life.
For me, it’s more than just volunteering my time. Sure, I believe in the cause and am grateful to be a part of it, but by enlisting the help of my Core colleagues and collaborating with the CHW event staff, I’ve been able to align my passion for photography and contribute in a way that adds a whole new (and personally rewarding) element to the night.
Building off of this year’s 1950’s: Twistin’ the Night Away theme, we constructed a photo booth that took photos of the attendees and their dates, and then printed and mounted them on some old vinyl records we had collected. The idea was that they wouldn’t just get a photo from the night, but a keepsake that was a little bit different and unexpected. We all thought this was a pretty good idea.
Like any photo booth at an event, we got off to a somewhat slow start. And then it happened. A few kids came by and had their photos taken. Suddenly they were off showing the records to others and the traffic grew. Before we knew it we were furiously capturing, printing and mounting the smiling faces of genuine moments of fun. The kids loved the records and were comparing their photos with each other. Parents, surgeons and staff all commented on how great it was that we could capture the moment when their minds were off of their illness and provide such a unique keepsake to hang on the wall.
A lasting memory that will always stick with me is when a teenage girl, so caught up in the excitement and thrill of the photo shoot, proceeded to walk away from the photo booth forgetting her IV. Now that’s living in the moment!
I can’t begin to do justice in describing this incredibly humbling experience. It doesn’t just provide a perspective on the things that are truly important in life, it also serves as a reminder to the importance of living each moment in the moment. I am proud to be a part of a few of these good moments.
Doug Birling is a Media Production Specialist at Core Creative.