About two and a half years ago, Jonathan Diaz was doing photos of his own children as superheroes. The resulting pictures were cool, and Diaz thought that he could do something with this type of photography to help make a difference. He wanted to use his photography for a “real” reason not just family photos and portraits.
With the support of his wife and his connection to Millie’s Princess Foundation, Diaz was able to create the Anything Can Be Project to help children who experience cancer and their families make memories.
“The idea of the photographs is to take a picture of these kids as they truly are,” says Diaz.
The project started out as images manipulated through Photoshop, but it has morphed into something greater. Now, children who take part in a photo session get to have an experience that is tailored to that child’s desires. Some sessions include makeup artists, dress designers and set designers.
“We have a boy named JP who wants to be a Jazz player.” Diaz says that the Project is in negotiations with the Jazz to make that happen as an experience that would include video, time on the court and photos of JP as a professional basketball player.
Amanda Flamm, vice president of Millie’s Princess Foundation, is proud of the Anything Can Be Project and of Diaz. Jordan had an “Alice in Wonderland” wish but ended up being too sick to partake in the entire experience. According to Flamm, Diaz showed up at the Jordan’s house and was able to take her to Wonderland through their imaginations.
“It was as simple as sitting on her couch and holding this rabbit,” says Flamm. “She was so peaceful.”
Flamm says that Diaz finds out what the child’s deepest desire is, and he is able to bring it to life thorugh a photograph.
“I know what a photograph can bring” to a family, says Flamm, whose daughter Millie passed away after a relapse of leukemia.
For those who want to get involved in the Project, Diaz says that “money is obviously awesome,” but people power is also an important factor in helping these children and their parents recognize who they are.
“People don’t understand how much awareness really means,” says Diaz.
The Anything Can Be Project is putting together a book of photos. Those who are interested can donate $50 or more here and receive a book when they become available.