Calgary photographer comes forward to capture memories for couple with cancer
Published Friday, December 23, 2016 5:32PM MST Last Updated Friday, December 23, 2016 7:02PM MST
A Calgary family has new memories to cherish thanks to a photographer who donated her time to take their pictures.
Dan and Darlene Desgagne both lost their jobs and are currently not working.
In September, Dan was diagnosed with throat cancer and in November, Darlene learned she had uterine cancer.
They are now trying to deal with their illnesses and recover while raising two teenaged sons.
"I was in week one of recovery when he had his first chemo and he was sicker than a dog,” said Darlene.
"People just do not understand what the cancer treatment does to you until you actually experience it. It just wipes you, I have a lot of respect for cancer patients now,” said Dan.
A GoFundMe page was started to help make ends meet and they were hoping to raise enough cash to see them through a few months.
They surpassed their fundraising goal of $15,000 in about a week and people in their community have also been pitching in by bringing them food.
"We're feeling quite humble. Very appreciative and very thankful,” said Dan. “The Calgary community, you’ve always been a strong community for reaching out and helping others and I’m so proud to live here amongst you.”
Svetlana Yanova heard about the Desgagne's story of hardship and immediately wanted to help them out.
She took professional photos of the couple and their boys for free.
“I was more than happy to donate my time and give them this session,” said Yanova. “I find in these kinds of situations it's so important for families to get together and get their portraits done and have those memories.”
Yanova has also experienced job loss and when her brother was murdered, she was also supported by her community. She says the photo session was an opportunity to pay the favour forward.
“When something like this happens, money is the last thing you want to be thinking about so I’m so happy that Dan and Darlene are getting the help that they need,” she said.
Dan just finished his first round of radiation and Darlene is recovering from a hysterectomy.
The family says it has been a tough couple of months but that they are now closer than ever and that they plan to pay the gestures forward when they are well enough.
"We definitely love each other more now,” said Dan. “I don't think when I married her I had such a strong feeling of love at that time but I knew she would be good for me.”
So far over $55,000 has been raised to help the family out, click HERE for more information.