giving back -- three in a million / by Ashley Brown

Three in a million. Those are the odds Willem Hladun faced in September 2008--just two months after his birth. Known to the world as Brave Will, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer at just 8 weeks old--atypical terratoid rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT). In February, 2009 at nearly 7 months of age, Will earned his wings. But his legacy is impressive and everlasting, thanks to his parents and big brothers Ben and Max, who have formed the Brave Will Foundation supporting palliative care for pediatric patients and their families at Albany Medical Center. The Foundation has raised nearly $100,000 through events and donations, establishing programs and providing opportunities to families facing the same struggle they experienced.

In the last few hours of his life, Ashley was bedside with Will and his family, capturing the tiny details of the newness of life, but with a much heavier heart. She photographed him with his mom and dad, his proud, strong big brothers, and his tiny fingers and perfect little toes. He was surrounded by love and was so very peaceful, as if he knew he had led his family down the path intended for them. And only this sweet baby boy could know that his family, like no other, could handle the task he assigned.

The images of Will provide us with so much more than a moment captured in time, and will forever be etched in our minds. We are especially proud to support the Brave Will Foundation and in turn, support all those families who will undoubtedly benefit from their generosity and kind spirit.

To learn more about the Brave Will Foundation, visit www.bravewill.org.

ABP’s monthly charitable contributions are based on the proceeds from prints, products and sessions.