June 4, 2014 4:51 pm

Drawing Hope project creates pictures to help sick kids

Drawing Hope's Jack Lalonde as a superhero for having a successful liver transplant.

Shawn Van Daele/ The Drawing Hope Project

TORONTO –  Two years ago  The Drawing Hope Project  was created by professional photographer, Shawn Van Daele.

“My dad was actually sick with cancer and a bunch of drawings were found that I had done as a child so I decided to try and turn one of those drawings into something to cheer him up,” Daele said. “He absolutely loved it and it brought him so much happiness and joy it inspired me that I could do this for other families.”

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The project aims to bring together a book full of photographs of children with health conditions, each becoming a special character in their own fantasy. They also write their own personal stories, what they have overcome, and bring awareness to their personal causes like organ donation.

Nicole Lalonde knows exactly what it feels like to receive one of them.

“Jack was born with a very rare liver disease called biliary atresia,” said Lalonde.  “We met Shawn right before Jack got listed for his second transplant. When we first saw the picture it just brought so much joy to our family. He really captured Jack’s spirit of hope and faith.”

The entire project is free but it’s not just for the kids.

“I was naive in thinking it’s going to make this child’s day,” he said. “It means more to the doctors and the nurses who have cared for them. It’s changing lives, not just for the children but all the people that are surrounded – that surround these kids.”

To date Shawn has created 45 pictures and he’s not stopping.

“They’ve changed my life…a picture’s worth a 1000 words but I think these ones are worth a little bit more,” he said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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