On a perfect Oregon spring-time day, over 100 family and friends gathered around to celebrate two very special little boys, one of whom was battling lots of his own real life dinosaurs.
Four year old Declan was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on May 28, 2016. During that time he received 79 high doses of chemotherapy, two surgeries, and five bone marrow punctures. Needless to say, far more than any child should ever have to endure. In September of 2016, this tough dino-loving little guy had officially beat the odds and achieved remission. Unfortunately, just a few short months later, the cancer came back in February of 2017.
On March 31, 2018, we went to celebrate Declan and his twin brother Adrian's 6th Birthday. There was well over 100 people that filled the gym at the Northwest Gospel Church in Vancouver, Washington. As setup began, I noted all of the small details, which is always one of my favorite parts of event prep. There was dinosaurs absolutely everywhere, which was more than appropriate for someone whose nickname was "Declan the Dinosaur" of course.
Declan's love for dinos is more than appropriate for someone who has battled such large obstacles in his short life, and he hasn't let that stop him yet! As I went around taking photos of the different finishing touches, Declan and Adrian were playing with friends. Adrian, doing laps around the gym (I don't think I ever saw him stop moving!) and Declan, quietly being held by loved ones.
As the day progressed, some very special guests showed up. Elsa and Batman came with a whole party face paint kit to give all of the kiddos special artwork for the day! Adrian asked Lauren (mom) if he could get a snake "tattoo" on his stomach, but he settled for his arm instead. He proudly showed it off for the rest of the day.,
When it came time for cake, the Birthday boy were over the moon to see a large array of cookies, cake, and cupcakes for them to devour. Declan wasn't very hungry, but Adrian loved it!
Following the excitement of cake, there was an egg-citing dinosaur egg hunt planned in the main foyer of the church. The kids were all given favor bags created by yours truly to use as their collection container.
There was about 90 children at this party, so the egg hunt was a bit crazy. Because Declan hasn't been moving quite as fast as his peers, when he got out to the foyer all of the eggs had been found. I was following him as he walked around, and noted the extreme look of disappointment on his face. That was the one time all day that I almost cried.
That disappointment quickly disappeared when other kids noticed that Declan didn't have any eggs, and they were not only giving him their findings, but their entire bags. His face instantly lit up with smiles that brightened the entire room.
Once the egg hunt was over and Declan had unearthed his findings (and there was a LOT of them!), it was time to go back and let the kids play and have the boys open their presents.
Watching all of the children run around and have fun was so heartwarming, but even more so was watching Declan quietly sit on the floor as he opened all of his presents. It was very obvious how tired he was, but this little guy had plenty of energy to open some new toys!
As guests began to slowly exit the party, I grabbed Lauren (Declan's mom) so that we could do some family photos and of course one of our famous "Inspire" photos.
Another moment of reality struck when I went to hand Declan a water bottle to hold in his hand to pose him for his Inspire photo, but I had to empty the water bottle because it was too heavy for his little hand. But the second I started shooting, he could not stop smiling! Of course, I wanted a serious photo, but that was no easy task for this little man. He absolutely loves to smile!
From there, we moved onto some unposed, relaxing family photos. We wanted to capture those moments of happiness with Declan and even though everyone was exhausted, we managed to get some beautiful shots that we hope they will forever cherish.
March 31, 2018 is a day that will stay in my heart forever. I witnessed a community and family pull together during one of the most difficult times to give this amazingly deserving little boy a day that will never be forgotten. Cancer is awful, it's unfair, but it does not define a person. Declan's strong will to live and fight through all of the doctor's estimates is proof of that. Each day is a blessing for this family, and watching how strong they are through all of these struggles is something I will never forget.
Stay strong, Declan.
Photography and Video: Halsey
Birthday Party by: Mascots for a Cure
Face painting and characters by: Dragon Theater Puppets and Princesses
If you follow our Facebook page, you have probably seen that we have been hitting the Con (comic conventions, that is) scene pretty hard. We've been having a blast doing it and have even introduced a few new mascots along with our appearance! Our Capes and Crowns Dinosaurs have been quite a hit, and we intend to continue to introduce new characters that these large, lovable guys (and girls) cosplay.
This Spring, we are incredibly excited to announce that we are once again bringing the dinos back from extinction and will be attending Wizard World in Portland, Oregon- April 13-15!
Aside from us having our giant, friendly t-rexes with us, there will be lots to do and see!
If you have never been to a comic convention before, this is the one to go to. Lots of comic artists from around the country will be in attendance, there will be endless amounts of vendors selling their own fandom art, and did I mention TONS of celebrities?
Yes, lots of people you might recognize. People such as Jason Momoa from Justice League (and Game of Thrones, and...a lot more haha) Ian Somerhalder from the Vampire Diaries, Bonnie Wright from Harry Potter, Sebastian Stan from Captain America, Ezra Miller from the Justice League, and there are tons more listed on their website! People from every fandom should be here, because Wizard World has your favorite people! From Superheroes, to vampires, to wizards, and even our Shire lovers who know there is only one ring to rule them all. You can check out their complete guest list here.
If you like having fun and meeting celebrities, this is the place for you! And come to the Capes and Crowns Foundation booth to say hi and take part in our fun activity that we will have going on all weekend!
Because we want all of our fans to experience this exciting weekend, you can enjoy 20% of your general admission ticket prices! Just use the code in the graphic below that is just for our wonderful supporters! Just use code CAPES20
We'll see you at Wizard World in Portland!
We have been waiting a long time to post this. Almost two months, to be exact. It was on December 15th, 2017 that we had the honor of meeting little Patrick.
Born at 26 weeks on December 1 and weighing in at an impossible 1 lb and 15 ounces, this little guy has beat odd after odd.
As the doors to the NICU at PeaceHealth West in Vancouver opened, we knew that this would be one of more difficult NICU sessions. It's hard to imagine anything that small, but especially a person. How can one who is so tiny, fight so hard?
As we walked down the hallway with Patrick's mother, Sarah and his Grandmother, we noticed all of the signs that lined the room with different warnings and instructions for care of these tiny little fighters. When we got to Patrick's room, a beautiful harp being played by a volunteer echoed through the hallways. Music therapy is a very common occurrence in a NICU, and is always so calming in a stressful situation for both babies and their parents.
Walking into the room was a bit overwhelming. When you walked in, there was a large completely enclosed bassinet, with the tiniest little thing that you'd ever laid eyes on inside of it. It was hard to believe that a baby was inside.
As we spent time in Patrick's room, we met one of PJ's nurses and observed as she performed a few routine tasks. Watching how delicate everything was with him was unreal, and amazing.
We are ecstatic to report that at just over two months old, Patrick will be going home this week! We will be covering his discharge from his long fight at the hospital as he goes home where he belongs.
Stay tuned, this is only beginning of this amazing little fighter's story!
As the huge waves of people poured into Eastridge Church, there was a loving and welcoming vibe all around that could be felt. Old friends, new friends, family members who hadn't been seen in years, and strangers alike had all come together to celebrate the life of a man who made lives better for all of those around him
Jeremy was not a person would not leave an impact on a person, no matter how short of a time was spent with him. A few months back, our photographer Jess had the honor of photographing their family while at Jeremy's care facility. Jeremy and his wife, Amy, along with their twin daughters Macy and Maddy, and their son Morrison. You can read all about Jess' visit here. During our Birthday Party (which can be found here) for his daughters, the girls were a direct reflection of what a wonderful person Jeremy was, and what Amy is as well. Loving and kind-hearted, it was wonderfully refreshing to see young women that were so strong and caring, despite everything that they were going through.
Looking around the church foyer, I noted all kinds of beautiful small details. Photo collages showing some of the best times of Jeremy's life were taped all around for us to admire, and small postcards asking people to write down their favorite memories of him.
As the church doors closed, the soothing and beautiful sound of a ukulele echoed through the entire building. Jeremy loved Hawaii, and a family friend honored his service with her talents by helping service guests fully immerse themselves with not only loving visuals placed around the service, but allowing them to hear the music he loved so much. Looking around, the church was standing room only, in fact, the auditorium doors had to remain open as a spillway for people as there wasn't enough space in the auditorium itself.
When the service began, guests were urged to stand and sing along with songs that were beautifully performed by close family friends. As the songs went on, the mood in the room softened from the excitement of seeing familiar faces, to more focused and somber as people reflected on their memories with Jeremy.
The service itself was beautiful. Friends and family members spoke with lots of tears, but also lots of laughter. It was very apparent that not only was Jeremy a great guy, he was so, so loved by everyone.
As the service came closer to an end, we heard from Jeremy's children. Heart-wrenching and beautiful, their speeches (and a poem) were so precious and a perfect tribute to Jeremy's legacy.
When the service was over, we stayed for just a few minutes to watch people show their love and compassion for the Farrara family. Embraces were long and loving, and when I peeked over to the seating area, I noticed Morrison having a playful tickle fight with his great uncle Mark. It was the perfect end to the event, watching such joy and love resonate.
Jeremy Farrara is someone who was clearly incredibly loved by all whose lives he touched. His legacy lives on through his beautiful family, and being a part of this celebration of life was something that I will never forget. Thank you to the Farrara family for having me, it was an honor.
Venue: Eastridge Church in Clackamas, Oregon
In the bustling metropolis of Portland, Oregon lives a superhero that is out to save the world. Of course, every superhero wants to do just that, but this one saves the world in a very different (and important) way. Meet Golden Girl. She's one amazing lady who flies all around the world to educate and protect children with cancer!
13 year old Lexy is one phenomenal little girl. She has been battling brain cancer since she was just 14 months old, but she has never let that stop her! Upon entering our studio, Lexy shook hands with everyone introducing herself as well as Golden Girl. We had a custom designed costume by the ever awesome Everfan. When we spoke with Scott, the owner of Everfan, we presented him with everything Lexy envisioned for golden girl. She didn't have a ton of instruction besides "Gold and Sparkly". While this isn't a huge order and normally pretty easy, there was one hurdle; Lexy is blind. She was not born blind, however, it was an unfortunate after effect of one of her eleven brain surgeries in her short little life. So she knew what sparkle looked like, but unfortunately could no longer see it. How were we to make sure that Lexy knew that Golden Girl was everything she had envisioned, without her being able to visually see that?
Scott and his team take challenges in stride, however. He created an out of this world costume that had a sequin cape so that Lexy could feel the sparkle of Golden Girl. We topped everything off with a pair of glitter shoes, and made sure Golden Girl was sparkly as could be! Of course, every super hero also needs a gorgeous golden tutu, too.
Once Lexy was all dressed up, we headed outside for a rare Oregon winter day that it wasn't pouring rain along with her big brother who had chosen to be the Black Panther. Once the camera started clicking, these kids absolutely nailed the poses and put themselves into character perfectly!
Our time with Golden Girl is one we will never forget. Lexy is an amazingly strong little girl who does not let ANYTHING stop her! Keep it up, Golden Girl! We cannot wait to see what you accomplish!
Special Thanks to: Everfan
Photography: Kylie and Halsey
Hair and Makeup: Lauren
Dylan, our little star, and his family were nominated by a new neighbor for an Embrace Session this last fall. A week before he was due Marcy (mom) and Eric (dad) were told that Dylan's diaphragm muscle had not closed and the contents of his lower abdomen were restricting his lung development. Marcy's delivered Dylan on August 11th and he was transferred to Randall Children's Hospital - NICU where he received care for a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).
Every child has a story, but every story is vastly different. For Baybeblue, her story consists of a lot more mountains to overcome than most children, but you would never know that by looking at her beautiful face.
Baybeblue has a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5. The genetic anomaly was first identified in 2004 and causes seizures within the first two years of a child's life. She also battles Cerebral Palsy, Osteopenia (a condition that includes bone loss), and Epilepsy. Needless to say, this sweet girl fights an absolutely amazing fight on a day to day basis.
When we first began speaking to Baybeblue's mother, Cynthia, she told us that Blue loves unicorns and all things girlie. We immediately got to work to put together this session for a girl that so deserves it! Kim from Oregon Dream Ponies came out with her own personal pint-sized unicorns and helped to truly bring the magic to our studio.
As we spoke with Cynthia during planning to get to know her amazing daughter a bit more, she mentioned that Blue has a best friend named Maddie. Maddie is a very inspirational young lady that the world could learn a lot from. Maddie has no disabilities of her own, and she looks past all of Blue's limitations and simply loves her just the way that she is.
Blue's story is one of struggles that no one should have to face, but through it all this sweet young lady handles it with extreme poise and grace!
When a hero is born, their powers are not always something that are immediately obvious. For 7 year old James, his super hero strength was revealed once his long battle began.
From a young age, James has had to fight harder than most children. The struggles he has gone through are something that no child should need to face, but you would never know that by looking him. This firecracker of a little guy has an infectious smile that could make the palace guards in London chuckle.
Of course, behind every super hero lies a strong mentor. Aurora, James' mother, is the epitome of what a hero should be. Strong, beautiful, and fearless, Aurora faces every battle right alongside her little boy and conquers it. It was obvious that for their Inspire session, she was destined to be Wonder Woman.
Throughout the session, James' infectious laugh filled the studio space. He had an absolute blast being Ironman, and Mom had a great time as well! For a few hours, they got to escape their reality of constant hospital and doctors visits and just had a great time being together.
We had an amazing time with these two real life super heroes and were honored to be a part of a few hours of their lives.
Photography: Kylie and Halsey
Hair and Makeup: Tiffany
I have loved the famous quote "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain" for as long as I can remember. It embodies so much strength, and I could not think of a more fitting description of Maddy and Macy.
You may remember these two sweet young ladies from our blog a few weeks ago. Their father, Jeremy, is on hospice care due to cancer. These girls have endured things in life that no one should ever have to, but you would never know that when you talk to them.
Macy and Maddy are going through an obviously unspeakably difficult time. So when we found out that the girls' 16th Birthday was just days from when Jessica photographed the hospice session for their father, we got to work on a distraction for them.
After we worked some of our C+C magic, Dave and Busters kindly donated a Birthday party for Macy, Maddy, their little brother Morrison, and their step mother, Amy. The girls were also able to bring 14 of their friends with them.
The Super Girl theme was more than fitting for these amazing young ladies. With the help of Bella C Parties and Fancy That, we were able to deck out the tables to really make them feel just as "super" as they truly are!
After Dave and Busters, we treated all of the girls to a movie night, just like they'd wanted.
The night was filled with fun, food, lots of games, and most importantly- an endless supply of love. We were so happy to be able to give Macy and Maddy a night out to just be teenagers and enjoy themselves. We could not have done it without the help of Dave and Busters, Bella C Parties, Fancy That, and Cakes by Rae.
Happy Birthday, Maddy and Macy. we are so honored to have been able to do this for you two! You deserve it!
Special thanks to-
Party donated by: Dave and Busters
Cake donated by: Cakes by Rae
Centerpieces donated by: Bella C Parties
Party Supplies donated by: Fancy That
We are so thankful to our amazing vendors, they make what we do possible. When I was scrolling on Google a few months ago, I came across a company called Everfan. And as they say, the rest is history.
Scott has become a great friend of the foundation and has made some amazing new things in the works possible. His team has been available at the drop of a hat to give kids these incredible custom superhero costumes.
A few of you may remember Malakai's Epilepsyman session a few weeks back. Scott designed that costume based on a drawing by Malakai himself. Because of Everfan, we were able to make this little boy's dreams come true. We are so looking forward to working more with Scott and his team!
What is your business?
EVERFAN - Everfan creates custom costume accessories that engage people in uplifting play in order to inspire wonder and happiness.
Where are you based out of?
How long have you been in business?
What inspired you to work with Capes and Crowns Foundation?
We are always looking for unique organizations to partner with. After coming across Capes & Crowns Foundation and learning about their mission and seeing the kids they were impacting, I knew I wanted to reach out and see how we could help.
What was your favorite part of working with Capes and Crowns Foundation?
We love designing custom costumes for kids that help bring their imagination to life. Imagination is a true superpower and its inspiring when you see the impact it has on kids. Having Capes and Crowns Foundation capture this through photography is a powerful thing and we love being a part of the process.
Who is your favorite superhero or princess (or other character) and why?
I grew up collecting X-Men comic books and was drawn to Colossus - he was never the main guy but was a team player and turning into metal was pretty cool.
How can anyone interested in your services contact you?
Everfan.com or 229-234-1222. While we specialize in superhero capes, we can make any costume accessories someone is looking for. We are slowly expanding our product line and love to work with anyone who has a random idea they want to see created.
Thank you again to Scott and the entire Everfan team! You all have been so wonderful and we cannot wait to work on future projects!
Written by: Halsey
Featuring: Everfan www.everfan.com