Amy & Mandy | Mendocino, California Lymphoma Survivor BFF Portrait Session | Adventurous Northern California Destination Photographer

Imagine you are just 4 short days shy of your 30th birthday. You're preparing for a celebration, most likely with friends and family. Or maybe, an intimate affair with just your significant other. Regardless of the company, turning 30 is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement right?


Not for Amy. Instead of celebrating her 30th birthday, Amy would be hit with some of the worst news of her entire life. Instead of unwrapping presents and popping open the bubbly, Amy was facing Stage IV Hodgkin's Lymphoma


Hodgkin's Lymphoma would attack her lungs, chest, stomach spleen, and bones. She would go on to do six months of ABVD chemotherapy. Despite the diagnosis, Amy was determined to live her best life. She wanted to document her story and leave a legacy of hope for others. she used instagram to document her journey, not only to keep a diary for herself but to encourage others through their own diagnosis and fight, "if I could make it through so could they"! 


She joined an online community for Lymphoma patients. That's when she met my friend Mandy. (You've heard me talk about her before. If there is anyone that a girl with Cancer wants in her corner, it's our beautiful and courageous Mandy.) Separated only by a flight across the country, a bond was formed over their illness that is unrivaled.


For them, "No one fights alone" isn't just a saying, it's a way of life. Each of them understands that positivity is king in the fight for one's life. "When people asked if they could pray for me, I always said yes, because I needed all the positivity I could get."  They needed all the good vibes, prayers, and positive thinking that they could muster. Surrounding themselves with loved ones wasn't enough. They needed more. Enter Leukemia Lymphoma Society's online community.  


In my experience, when people go through hardships and struggles, there is an overwhelming need for connection with others that occurs. Not for sympathy or attention but because for inspiration and understanding. Before online forums, facebook groups, instagram, and communities, they may have been able to find a support group locally if lucky. Now, with the advancement of technology, people can connect with anyone in the world at any time day or night. For people who are fighting Cancer, the ability to talk to someone who understands at any given moment is gold.  For some it may be that they are having a bad day and others they need advise on which oncologist to see. No matter what the reason for reaching out, there is always someone out there to answer the call.


For Amy and Mandy, it was everything. They had a whole world of friends who would laugh, cry, share, and be with them. Even now 5 years later, they are best of friends. And from what I understand, there are MORE beauties in their tribe. 


I hope I am lucky enough to meet them all! 

Chelsi is a destination wedding  and portrait photographer based in Fort Bragg, California. She loves to travel and will go anywhere to capture your life's sweet moments. She lives for seeing the world, capturing authentic love, and making people feel fabulous. Her style is authentic, real, and emotional. She believes in laughing too much, singing too loud, and most importantly living life to the fullest and prefers capturing every single authentic beautiful moment that evoke emotion over perfectly posed photos.