Guest Post from Jon Albert, founder of Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF)
We all say to ourselves each day, we need to take more photos. Whether it’s with your kids, your friends, your pets; we know it is important to capture those fun (and sometimes even not so fun moments). I am reminded every day of why it is so important to spend time with your family, relish in the memories we create with those we love and to take photos… lots of photos and videos! As the Founder of the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation (JAJF), a national nonprofit supporting families to who will lose their young Mom or Dad to cancer, I see the value of creating memorable moments and capturing those moments while you are all together. While my job is amazingly rewarding professionally and personally, it is also bittersweet. I get to see the photos of our families at resorts, ballgames, concerts, roller coasters, beaches and beautiful sunsets, not images of cancer. We are on the fun side of late stage cancer, which sounds strange but is so true.
I lost my wife, Jill, to late stage breast cancer nearly six years ago and not a day goes by that my children don’t reflect back on the time they spent with their mom by looking through our family photos, thinking of her and what she would say and watching videos of the memories we all created together. I am grateful for the many ways we documented our family’s time and experiences together because those images and clips last forever. There is no better reminder to my children of their Mom and our time with her, than remembering those special moments in our lives. Photos truly bring memories to life; freezing that moment in time, and I am grateful we have them!
Basing my own children’s experience losing their mom, it was important to me at JAJF that each family is given everything they need to capture and share their own memories. For every single family we serve, we send a camera. The photos and videos they capture are living memories brought to life through a leather bound photo album and a YesVideo DVD. What better way to capture, share and keep those memories for generations to come. We know as time passes, the sadness fades, but the happiness shared in those moments together never fades. You forget the hospitals, sickness, hardships… and what you are left with are the really important memories and photos that are just as vibrant today as they were when they happened. So, this is a call to action for all of you who are celebrating your Dads this month or going on a family vacation, or simply doing something new with your family this weekend. TAKE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS… lots of them! It shouldn’t take a terminal diagnosis to celebrate time together with your family. You can never have too many photos and memories… because as we say at JAJF “Memories become our greatest inheritance”.