Monday, March 31, 2014

Haugen's Children's Contest - Jack's Story

This year Haugen's Children's Contest - Tutus & Ties - benefits Doernbecher Children's Hospital. If you live in Oregon or Southwest Washington, chances are you've heard of Doernbecher Children's Hospital, maybe even have a child who has been treated there. Doernbecher's mission is to provide the premier children's healthcare experience in our region through excellence in care, advocacy, innovation, education and research. They do this by providing quality and compassionate, family-centered care to every child, every day. Doernbecher knows that going to the hospital can be scary so they've made sure that everything is designed for kids-- from playrooms and playgrounds, to medical equipment and exam procedures-- helping to take away that fear and uneasiness.

Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting and photographing the Elstad family.
 Jack and Hannah are four-year-old twins and big brother, Ryan, is seven. Ashlie and Jason are amazing parents to this little trio. The love that surrounds the 'Elstad 5' is obvious in everything they do. The bond that this family shares is unbelievable and I was honored to capture it.

The Elstad's know first-hand how amazing Doernbecher Children's Hospital is. In January, 2012 Jack was diagnosed with  ALL Leukemia...

"January 5th, 2012 was a day that changed our lives forever.  After bringing a seemingly healthy Jack in for routine  blood work because we thought he might be anemic, our suspicions were confirmed in a way we never could have imagined.  Just hours after we had his blood drawn the doctor called and told us to leave immediately for the ER at OHSU. We were admitted to Doernbecher's Children's Hospital that night and stayed for a week. After a bone marrow aspiration the next  
day, we found out Jack has ALL Leukemia and we are in for 3 plus years of intensive chemotherapy treatments."

After two years of countless spinal taps, rounds of intense chemo, transfusions, steroids, IV's, blood draws-- the list goes on and on-- it would be so easy, and understandable, for Jack to dread going to the hospital. Instead, most days' his mom has to drag Jack out of what he calls "my hospital".

"Doernbecher has been such a warm and friendly place for us. From the first moments that we found out Jack had cancer, and through all of his treatments, we have felt taken care of by the doctors and nurses. They have so much to offer Jack during his chemo visits." - Ashlie
The doctors, staff and volunteers at Doernbecher fill each visit with as much fun, laughter and smiles as possible. They know these things are an important part of getting healthy. These are the things they want their patients to remember about their time spent at the hospital, not the needles, surgery or chemo. What a blessing this is!

"We have an end in sight... March 13, marks ONE more year left of chemo for Jack!! I know, I know, it's still a heck of a long time, but we have come so far! We can do this!" - Ashlie, Jack's mom

Keep fighting, Jack!! You've got this!!!

About the Children's Contest
Haugen's Children's Contest is going on now thru April 30th. The entry fee is $49, which includes a portrait session of your child, and will be donated in its entirety to Doernbecher. One image from the session will be selected for the contest and posted online, allowing friends, relatives and the general public to vote for their favorite with donations to Doernbecher, Every dollar donated counts as one vote. The top 13 fundraisers will be published in the 2015 Tutu's and Ties Calendar, supporting Doernbecher Children's Hospital. Click here for all the contest info.
We still have sessions available! Help us support this wonderful hospital, schedule your session today!