Rewind 14 months ago. I got a message from a girl called Hannah, asking me if I would be up to photographing something that wasn't yet confirmed but would I be interested. A cryptic message that caught my interest, we started chatting, and a few weeks later she announced it was all going ahead, her and her friend Katie were shaving their heads to support their bestie Cissy who was undergoing radiotherapy. I later found out that these girls were not just amazingly close friends, they all had been through their own battles and numerous surgeries with heart conditions.
I remember like it was yesterday when I pulled up outside Cissy's house last February and I was so anxious about the day ahead. I was about to meet these three incredible girls who were shaving their hair off later that day, and I was to capture it all. Walking into that house was electric. There was so much emotion, so much energy, both nervous and excitement. The whole day was emotional, and it completely opened my eyes on how I viewed the world.
What a year that followed. These girls helped raise over £13,000 for the hospitals that helped Cissy, they donated their hair to the Princess Wig Trust. Cissy was awarded the Teenager of Courage award at the Pride of Britain awards where she met all the celebs. She even met Prince Harry on a separate occasion. They have been mentioned on the news, in numerous newspapers and magazines. Hannah got her wish granted and had the shock of her life when she met Jessie J on stage and sang with her. Whoa!
As the anniversary of the shave approached, I was thinking a lot of the girls, and have kept in touch with Hannah. I was thrilled when we met for dinner and she asked me if I would be up for a reunion shoot. A no brainer it was a definite.
Arriving the second time at Cissy's house was like deja vu, but I wasn't anxious this time, just eager to see them all and hear about the past year of their lives, and see how much their hair had grown! Inside, the girls were getting ready upstairs with hair and makeup, music playing, just chilling out and catching up. It was so different to the previous year. They were completely goofy, singing and throwing popcorn at each other, and reminiscing over that day last year. We wanted to recreate some of the photos from the previous shoot, but due to the horrid weather we were housebound and couldn't visit the hairdressers (which was closed anyway!). So instead the girls made some amazing red velvet cupcakes (love the Hummingbird cookbook!) and snuggled together to look through the photos from last year.
I'm incredibly proud of these girls and what they have achieved, and what they continue to achieve everyday. There is no challenge too big for any of them, they look at life and embrace it wholly. They have their whole lives ahead of them, and I know each of them will go far. I've never seen such spirit, determination, courage, optimism and I wish I had that outlook all those years ago, as they will soar high. Love you girls xx