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Making a difference with 'Flashes of Hope'

Updated: Monday, September 23 2013, 08:15 AM CDT
Written by: Sherry Christian

Tammy Brinkley is a photographer for the Hershey chapter of Flashes of Hope.  The national program has photographed thousands of children with cancer, who's expressions in the pictures don't reflect the pain and suffering the disease puts them through.

And yes, that's the point.  In fact, the pictures Brinkley took of 14-year old Dustin Beaver of Cumberland Ccounty were done at Camp "Can Do", where kids with serious illnesses can just be kids for two weeks.

Brinkley said she was nervous at first.  "I went the first year scared to death, cause I didn't know what to expect.  they give you a list of things you should or shouldn't say,  just to make sure you're sensitive to what you're actually doing."

By taking the photographs, Brinkley is giving kids like Dustin and his mom Patty, memories of good times.

"The past couple years that's all I really have a memory of is cancer, what I've been going through, so it's a lot better to get my mind off of things with those picture."  Said Dustin.

"They just light up!  it's like they've never been through the trauma that they've been through," Brinkley said.

Sadly, 25%  of the children photographed by Flashes of Hope do not survive what they've been through.  That's a statistic that stays in the back of Patty and Dustin Beaver's minds.
Fortunately, Dustin is in remission, so his are celebratory pictures Brinkley is taking.  But for others, the images are the last ones many parents have of their children.

"The fact that they can have those photos years down the road, it's just going to give them comfort, it's priceless.  It's a priceless gift that they're doing for our children," Patty said.

"It will get their minds off of things and they can put in the back of their mind that they have cancer or life threatening disease or something they can possibly die from," Dustin said.

Flashes of Hope and Camp Can do need your help. Funding was pulled for the programs, so they are looking for donations to help continue the program. Click here for more information: and a difference with 'Flashes of Hope'

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