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posted: 5/25/2012 12:06 PM

Moving Picture: Lake County woman gives with photos

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  • Sharon Weigand jumps in to make a last-minute adjustment to Vincent Rassano's Bulls jersey before Sharon's daughter Jennifer Weigand clicks the shutter. Sharon's husband, Ray, adjusts the lights. Rassano, 9, is from Woodridge.

      Sharon Weigand jumps in to make a last-minute adjustment to Vincent Rassano's Bulls jersey before Sharon's daughter Jennifer Weigand clicks the shutter. Sharon's husband, Ray, adjusts the lights. Rassano, 9, is from Woodridge.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon Weigand enjoys a moment as she notices 6-year-old Jack Czapla of Mundelein smiling as Jennifer Weigand of Fox Lake takes portraits at Children's Memorial Hospital.

      Sharon Weigand enjoys a moment as she notices 6-year-old Jack Czapla of Mundelein smiling as Jennifer Weigand of Fox Lake takes portraits at Children's Memorial Hospital.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon, Ray, and Jennifer review photographs from a photo shoot at Sharon and Ray's home in Round Lake Heights.

      Sharon, Ray, and Jennifer review photographs from a photo shoot at Sharon and Ray's home in Round Lake Heights.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon and Ray adjust 6-year-old Brooke Ames's hair before daughter Jennifer takes a portrait at Children's Memorial Hospital. Brooke's brother Drew, 4, is receiving treatment at the hospital. The Weigands offer to take portraits of siblings and parents of children facing cancer. The Ames family is from Wheaton.

      Sharon and Ray adjust 6-year-old Brooke Ames's hair before daughter Jennifer takes a portrait at Children's Memorial Hospital. Brooke's brother Drew, 4, is receiving treatment at the hospital. The Weigands offer to take portraits of siblings and parents of children facing cancer. The Ames family is from Wheaton.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon Weigand unloads a carton of costumes and hats for a photo session at Children's Memorial Hospital.

      Sharon Weigand unloads a carton of costumes and hats for a photo session at Children's Memorial Hospital.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Sharon and Mary Berry of Ford Heights are pleased with Berry's princess crown after having it adjusted for her portrait sitting at Children's Memorial Hospital.

      Sharon and Mary Berry of Ford Heights are pleased with Berry's princess crown after having it adjusted for her portrait sitting at Children's Memorial Hospital.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Moving Picture: Caring Arts

 
 

Sharon Weigand of Round Lake Heights doesn't take the pictures. But her love of photography can be seen in every image taken of young cancer patients at Children's Memorial Hospital.

"After my husband Ray's father passed away from cancer, we wanted to find a way to help other families fighting the disease," Sharon said.

Ray's cousin, Barbara Weigand of Oak Park, who is a co-founder of Caring Arts Foundation, suggested we could make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families by taking studio-style portraits at the hospital.

"Once a quarter they take over the oncology parent lounge for a morning and turn it into a photo studio," Barbara said. "The kids have a wonderful time choosing costumes to wear and parents receive a full complement of photos, as if they'd gone for a formal portrait sitting, minus the cost."

Sometimes the children miss their school photos due to their illness.

"The photos are a reminder of how beautiful every child is, regardless of their illness, and is a wonderful gift for the families," said Barbara, vice president of programs for the foundation in Oak Brook.

Sharon and Barbara start the morning laying out more than 50 costumes, hats, stuffed animals and mirrors, while Ray and daughter Jennifer set up photography equipment to create a portrait studio in two small rooms on the oncology floor at the hospital.

"We don't know what age the children will be so we have a variety of sizes and styles," Sharon said. "We have cowboys, firefighters, many princesses, any kind of sports, really cool black jackets and ties for teenagers."

Most of the costumes are split down the back to make it easy for the children with IVs in tow.

The Weigands also take portraits of siblings, parents and family groups in costumes, too.

"We stand on our heads, shake stuffed animals, anything to get the kids to laugh or smile," Sharon said.

About 30 children are photographed each visit.

"We love to see the expressions on the kids faces, we love to see how excited the parents get," Sharon said.

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