A few weeks ago, Antonia Christianson Events contacted me to photograph the second annual Roast on the River to benefit a local charity-- Daniel's Grace. Their mission is "to provide sustenance, ease of financial burden, and support for daily living for families stricken with cancer". Once I discovered this, I immediately jumped on to be a part of the event.

In early 2010, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of her bile duct. (That's in your liver). Cancer of the bile duct isn't common, with less than 20,000 cases per year. Given the late stage of her diagnosis, and not much clarity as to what was really happening, or going to happen, I left my aspirations of becoming a business owner to spend as much time with her as I could, and to help my father, who was caring for her at the time. 

Cancer is scary--with or without a good prognosis. If you're "lucky", you have good insurance, ample income to pay for your medical bills, and loads of friends and family to keep care of you. Unfortunately, many people aren't "lucky", which is why Daniel's Grace touched my heart. Hearing the sobering stories of those who have been helped by this organization only supported my decision.

Thankfully, my mother survived her cancer, and has since been cancer free for over four years! I know, however, that her outcome isn't common, and that there are many people who fight the good fight, only to lose their battle with cancer. Coming together with so many kind-hearted vendors, such as Isha FossSweetwater Cuisine, and The Girl Tyler to raise money to help others was such a reward for me personally. 

From the Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bars to the deletable southern fare to the mountain of pies which were baked for the contest, the setup was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and emotions were running high. The day went off without a hitch, money was raised for a deserving organization for the second year in a row, and I left feeling touched and refreshed. It felt good knowing that I played a small part to help pull this off.

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Each year an art project is made by everyone who attends the Roast on the River. This year's theme was "Touch Someone's Heart". Additionally, Antonia Christianson Events put together a fun kids craft area that was busy from the start! Each time I've worked with Missy and her team, I've been impressed with the level of details, and how smooth everything seems to go. It makes for an ideal environment where people can genuinely relax and enjoy the day. 

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As today is Giving Tuesday, I encourage you all to find a charity or cause that speaks to you to support. Some of my personal favorites are:

Too Young to Wed

SARA -- Sexual Assault Resource Agency | Charlottesville, VA

The Virginia Symphony Orchestra


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