Photo Credit: Jonathan Diaz/J.M. Diaz Photography
A talented photographer transforms fantasies of children into reality to help them to better cope with cancer. Jonathan Diaz’s “Anything Can Be Project” has one mission: to bring the dreams of children to life through photography. Through public donations and corporate sponsorship, he recreates costumes and sets to bring to reality the fantasy of those who especially deserve to enjoy just one unforgettable day of their dreams.
Diaz told TODAY Parents, “I started really getting into this creative, collage-type of photography about three years ago, asking my kids to imagine living their dreams, and sort of recreating that imagination through my lens. After a while, I thought, ‘Why not give this project to kids with cancer, and create a special way for them to live their own dreams?'”
The heartwarming venture eventually led to the publication of his True Heroes book. While each photo is special in its own right, some beautifully honor those who lost the battle with their disease. “Jordan, who’s featured in the ‘Jordan in Wonderland’ shot, passed away a few weeks after we took the photos,” Diaz explained. “She really wanted to be part of the project when she was sent home to be on hospice. Her mom called us, and we rushed an Alice in Wonderland dress, and we went to her home. She was really sick and in a lot of pain, and it took three people to have her stand up. I kept telling her just to sit down. You know, you don’t have to stand! But she was absolutely determined. That’s resilience.”
“Together,” Diaz said, “she and I imagined a better place… a wonderland, where pain and hurt was not a worry, where she was perfect and healthy.”
Not all of his stories have sad endings. On the day of Cami’s photoshoot, pictured above, her family found out that her bone marrow transplant was successful and that she was leukemia-free. “Out of thousands of people, there was one guy who happened to be on the donor registry and he matched her,” Diaz remarked. “They were able to do this bone marrow transplant that saved her life. She is now cancer-free and doing very well.”
William, the photographer said, is currently dealing with leukemia for the second time. “William and I had a great adventure searching for dragon hideouts. It was the first time I was able to see William just being a boy, full of life and adventure!”
Braelyn has the most common form of childhood cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In the picture above she’s saving her friends/stuffed animals as a brave superhero.
Ellie dreams of being a baker. While she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, it’s currently in remission and she’s back at school. Diaz explained, “I wanted that image to be very whimsical. I didn’t just want her to become a baker; I wanted her to be able to do amazing things far beyond her wildest dreams. She not only created all these amazing baked goods, but she also was able to magically balance them and look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.”