The photo of three young girls who were battling cancer – bald and hugging each other – has gotten an update with the trio now in remission and posing for a brighter picture that is full of life.
Rheann Franklin, 6, Ainsley Peters, 5, and Rylie Hughey, 3, were photographed Saturday at the Bethany, Okla., studio of photographers Lora Scantling and Christy Goodger after learning that they are each in remission.
“It was just like a bunch of friends getting together,” Scantling told ABC News of the photo shoot. “They were bouncing off the walls, having fun, like, ‘Oh my best friends are here.‘”
It was Scantling who first brought the girls together last April for a photo shoot under much different circumstances, while each girl was in the throes of cancer treatments.
“My stepdad was battling lung cancer at the time and I wanted to do something that had an impact,” Scantling said. “I thought, ‘Oh how sweet would it be and I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone knew of little kids battling cancer.”
The parents of Rheann, Ainsley and Rylie answered Scantling’s call and on April 5 gathered in her and Goodger’s studio to be photographed.
“They walked in and the second they saw each other they were like, ‘Hey, you don’t have any hair either. You’re going through what I’m going through,’” Scantling recalled. “Everyone was quiet at first, but after a few minutes they were sharing stories from the hospital.”
The mother of Ainsley, who was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the time, called the resulting photo a “beautiful look at a horrifying struggle.”
“In the beginning we just wanted to be part of awareness and now it’s just an amazing viral photo showing how the little fighters are dealing with everything,” Andrea Peters told ABC News.
The photographers, Scantling and Goodger, were also surprised that the photo of the girls – dressed in angelic-like outfits and hugging each other – struck such a chord with so many people around the world.
“It’s been very surreal, but in the most wonderful way,” Scantling said. “I cried when it went viral because so many photographers dream of their works being seen around the world and Christy and I were lucky enough to be some of the few that make it and with such a powerful picture at that.”
“You can feel what they’re feeling,” she said.
Prints of the original photo of the three girls are still available for purchase online, with proceeds going to help cover the girls’ medical expenses and to the Jimmy Everest Center at Oklahoma University, where the girls were treated.
“I think it touched so many people because it’s little kids,” Scantling said. “Cancer hits a nerve, especially when it’s kids.”
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