When this disaster was unfolding, I considered what would be the best way for me to help

After thinking about it  I came to the conclusion, that I would love to donate a session to a well deserving family that had to flee the horrific fires of Fort McMurray.  In doing this I knew I would be contributing on a personal level and that it would have a lot of meaning long afterwards for that family.   I wanted to create some beautiful images to brighten a family’s dark days.

Beautiful baby girl arrives safely

The morning prior to this baby arriving, the mom contacted me about doing a newborn session.  I happily agreed and a couple weeks later we would finally get to meet.  A few days prior to this family’s session we met at the studio and they told me the details of their story.  I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to experience what they had.  I was also  in awe at how beautiful their newborn baby girl was.  It was a miracle that something so beautiful could happen during such a challenging time.  A few days later they came back for us to shoot the session.  Their daughter was fourteen days new and safe in her family’s embrace.  It really confirmed to me that family is the most important thing in this world.  It was wonderful to see them so happy and totally in love with their new addition.

This family’s story and how their baby girl got her middle name


It was by the grace of god this family escaped the fires of Fort McMurray on May 3, 2016.  This baby girl’s middle name is “Grace” and it was given to her, because her mom felt it was very fitting. Understandably so, because they were part of a mass evacuation only eight days earlier while they were literally awaiting their baby’s arrival in the Fort McMurray hospital.  The mom had been evacuated from the hospital and remembers feeling the heat of the flames while she was crossing the parking lot.  It wasn’t an ideal time to be experiencing contractions to say  the least.  She had to join the rest of her family prior to them literally fleeing the city from the dire situation. There was much fear and concern in making it out safely because of the massive flames everywhere and to get to a safe environment to have their baby.

To add further stress, they were delayed on the highway for three hours.  It took a much longer time to arrive in Athabasca because of mass numbers of evacuees leaving all at once.

Finally arriving at  the Athabasca hospital they were then sent on to St. Albert because of her high risk factor. When she arrived in St. Albert the contractions had subsided and because of the stress she had been under that hospital felt it best to not encourage further contractions.   They went back to Athabasca to stay in their fifth wheel with twelve others who had evacuated Fort McMurray as well.  It was not until eight days later that they finally welcomed their new daughter into the world.

Community spirit

When a family is getting prepared for a photo session there are extra things taken into consideration beforehand for everyone to look their finest.  So envisioning them getting ready in their fifth wheel, while taking care of their newborn meant it would be extra challenging for them.   Having said that, a lady who does hairstyles in Athabasca agreed to pamper this mom before their session.  It is amazing and wonderful to see community pull together at a time of tragedy.  Thank you Hadla A, for volunteering your time and doing such a lovely job.   It really was appreciated by this mom.  Beautiful community spirit!

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