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‘Flashes of Hope’ is giving kids with life-threatening illnesses a reason to smile

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MILWAUKEE -- It's called "Flashes of Hope" and it's giving kids battling life-threatening illnesses at Children's Hospital a reason to smile. Brian Kramp and photojournalist Susan Barthel take you behind the scenes of some powerful, uplifting portraits.

From time to time, we all get our picture taken. The end result is usually a memorable experience that reminds us of a special moment in time. Unfortunately, here at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin you don't always see smiles.


"Sometimes we get kids that come in here that have tears in their eyes or don't feel so good, or just aren't having a very good day," said Julie.

That's where Flashes of Hope can help.

Flashes of Hope

"We want to change the way that kids view themselves through the power of photography, through hair and make up, through giving a kid a chance to get out of a hospital bed and come up here. Normally, when a child hears they have pictures done, it means a scan, so we get to kind of put that new spin on getting the pictures done," said Amanda.

Beautiful pictures taken to make patients feel good, even if they physically don't -- which is why it's all done in black and white.

"When you have those colors and you're off colored, you'll look at that and know you didn't feel well. When you have black and white, you see the smiles, you see them," said Amanda.


For 11-year-old Ashley, the road to feeling good has been a long one. In 2016, she was diagnosed with T Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. For her mom, dad, and sister, one worD describes what these photos mean to them.

"Ah, priceless," said Laura.

Priceless, because for some families there are the last photos they may take with their child.

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