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Faces Facing Cancer

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I first met Maike this past August, when I received a message to my facebook page inquiring about my rates for a portrait session. She was such a perfectly pleasant person, and even brought some fun ideas to the shoot. She is beautiful and so easy to photograph, and we got along really well during the hour or so we got to work together!

Maike told me a little bit about who she was, and how she was taking nursing at DAL, at that point, I was just happy to have met someone so awesome. I left the shoot feeling inspired and excited to go home and begin editing. I figured that might be the end I see of Maike, but I was glad we got to know each other a little bit.

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Little did I know, that was only the beginning. 

A day after delivering the images, I get another message from Maike: 

"Hey Rachel! Me again. I am working on a project for my non-profit charitable program called Katrin's Karepackage. Katrin's Karepackage is a program made in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society in my mother's memory that offsets the travel costs of Nova Scotian cancer patients travelling to Halifax for cancer related appointments. Our next project is a photo book called Faces Facing Cancer (similar to Humans of New York), which will include cancer patients, researchers, healthcare professionals, etc.'s experience with cancer! I loved your photos and am potentially looking for a photographer to do the photographs for the book. I was wondering if you had time next Friday to meet for coffee to discuss it?"

I remember thinking: HOW CRAZY IS THIS?

So I went to coffee. Obviously. First of all, I LOVE coffee.. and second, this is a chance to work with Maike again on the largest project I have been a part of to date. We chatted about what the project would all entail, how many days we were looking at working for, and how many subjects the book was going to have. By the end of the coffee, I was the official photographer for the book, and Maike began working to put together a schedule with the subjects and a timeline in which everything would happen.

Maike spent the remainder of August doing phone interviews with the people who are profiled in the book, and in September we did the photographs. We spent 5 days driving around Halifax, Mahone Bay, Chester, parts of Cape Breton like Sydney and Lake Ainslie, and back to Halifax. Though it was crazy busy and I only had about 15 minutes to photograph each portrait, it was amazing. We photographed researchers, patients, people in remission, people that who lost loved ones, and everyone in between.

Now, months later, the book is here. I can hold it in my hands and read the stories of these people who I barely got to meet, but now have this wonderful connection to. It's so surreal to think of how many people and how much work went into this project, but the outcome is so worth it. I'm completely humbled and in awe about how I was the person someone as incredible as Maike found, and chose to include in such a thing.

The 110 page book profiles 50 Nova Scotians and their experience with this life-changing disease. 100% of the proceeds, above the cost of production, will go towards offsetting the travelling costs of Nova Scotian cancer patients travelling to Halifax for cancer-related appointments. It's an amazing fundraiser, created by an even more admirable person.

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Faces Facing Cancer costs $30 CAD and is available to purchase in person at The Lodge That Gives (5826 South Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia) or online via blurb.

Thank you so much Maike and The Canadian Cancer Society for including me in such an eye-opening experience. I am more than grateful to have worked on something so important to so many individuals.

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