chloe, the girl who stole a little piece of my heart.

On a perfectly autumnal day in October I met Chloe and her family at their home and we made some pretty pictures of their loving family and super sweet life together. Chloe's mama, Erin, said she wanted photos while Chloe still had a mouth full of baby teeth, and well, I'd say we got them (just look at all those baby-toothy smiles!).  But get this, the very next day when Erin picked her up from school, Chloe had lost her first tooth! Talk about perfect timing...

I could stop this post right there and have you thinking Chloe is just like every other cheerful five-year-old, because in many ways she is. She loves to sing and dance, do puzzles with her dad, and play with her sweet dog, Clarke. She especially loves all things Star Wars (she was Darth Maul for Halloween!), she has an incredibly infectious laugh, and her freckles go all the way up to her forehead! But what makes Chloe's joyous spirit remarkable is that she battles cystic fibrosis (a deadly genetic disease) every day of her life; in order to just breathe she takes dozens of pills and does hours of breathing treatments every single day.

Her parents would want you to know that she is so much more than her disease, so I hope I've made that obvious here.  I walked away a bit surprised that she was so exuberant; I guess without realizing it I was expecting Chloe to seem sick, and what makes her so incredible is that despite her illness and treatments that consume hours of each day, she is an absolute delight. The ugliness of her disease is what makes that sparkle in her eye that much brighter to her parents, and I imagine anyone who comes in contact with her. I've said that Chloe stole a little piece or my heart that day, but maybe what I should say is she and her amazing family made it grow a bit bigger. Maybe that sounds cheesy, but it is honestly how I feel, like there's a little chamber in my heart now just for her.

Another glimpse into the reality of Chloe's world, as well as her family's ongoing fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation can be found here. I encourage you watch the video and give what you can. Soliciting donations is not part of my norm, but well, how can I not in this case? I'll be asking again next spring when they do their walk as well, because this cystic fibrosis business needs its a** kicked, for my pal Chloe, and all the other people battling this ugly disease every day.

Much love, PQ