The Dainty Warrior

Ania (and Kellen, too!) – A celebration in honor of the Dainty Warrior and her new chapter in life.
© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst
Ania Elaine, my cousin’s dainty-yet-fierce little 4 year old, was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma back in October of 2013. I received the news while I was out of the country working on a cruise ship. Talk about feeling helpless.

Erica, Ania’s mommy and my honorary big sister, took to the keyboard soon after Ania’s diagnosis and blogged about the journey. I would read her updates she wrote quite frequently which she posted over at The Dainty Warrior Blog. It was a road of roller coasters and sleepless nights, to say the least. With everything going on, how can one find the strength to watch their child go through something that, at 30, I know nothing about?

God. Love. Family. Courage. Strength. And a little bit of art.

I watched the little Warrior paint with a sense of grace and purpose of someone with a heart and soul much wiser than her age. Those paintings helped inspire other little warriors and kept her chemo-woes at bay (though, at four, how much sickness can one little body take?). Her paintings are over at Etsy if you would like a little something extra for your walls.

This October marks a year of her diagnosis and now, a moment of celebration – Ania is finished with chemotherapy.

This day was uber-special to me in so many ways. I hope you enjoy these images and join Ania, Kellen, her mom and dad, and the rest of her family and friends in her CELEBRATION.

Be sure to check out the video of all the photos from this session located at the bottom of this post!

Ania 1Ania 3Ania 4Ania 5Ania 6© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst

On the way out of the park, they spotted a ‘fauna’ (deer).

© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst
Once we were done, I caught a little moment between my dad (my trusty assistant for the day) and Ania at the Chicago North Park Village Nature Center:

© 2014 Ashley M. Hayhurst

Since I couldn’t post ALL of the images, please enjoy a slideshow which showcases the entire photoshoot:

All photographed at North Park in Chicago, Illinois // October 2014

//AH

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