It was a night like I’d never experienced before. A night of remembrance. A night of solemn hearts. A night of tears. And yet it was a night of joy that comes from the peace that passes all understanding.
I had the honor of photographing Pray for the Cure. Pray for the Cure is a special prayer and music service dedicated to breast cancer survivors, their families, friends, and healthcare providers. As their facebook page states: “Pray for the Cure is sanctioned by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. While it is not a Race for the Cure event, it is meant to precede the Race as a spiritual and emotional care program. Pray for the Cure was first held in Peoria in 2004. The event began in Bloomington-Normal in 2011.” When I arrived at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington I could feel the celebration & quietness that filled the church as people from all seasons of life gathered together.
It was a night that focused on HEALING, HOPE, LOVE and COURAGE.
The evening was covered by several different forms of media. THIS interview by WEEK HOI-19ABC was one of my favorites.
Handmade prayer squares were made & donated for those attending the event by St. John’s Shawl Ministry.
Jill Savage, breast cancer survivor & founder of Hearts at Home, was the featured guest speaker. As a survivor herself, she was able to share first-hand of how “”It Is Not Well With My Circumstances, But It Is Well With My Soul”. An inspiring message for each individual in the auditorium.
I loved how Jill was able to laugh & share her heart so openly. She was in a room of individuals who had been down the same journey. It was a room that understood & clung to every word she said.
Candles were later lit by those attending to remember someone they knew who had battled cancer.
Music played softly & tears fell as candles were lit.
The Bloomington Area Concert Choir for Homeschoolers led by Mr. Lusk performed a beautiful encouraging song.
One of my personal favorite parts of the night, was when they had individuals stand who had survived cancer. The room was almost electrifying as woman after woman stood to show how many years it had been since their diagnosis. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room.
Women of Vision shared a song of community entitled “I Need You to Survive”. The lyrics spoke of community & encouragement & how we need each other through trials. All over the room I saw people holding the hands of who they sat next to as they drank in the words.
The evening ended with a word of encouragement & prayer by Rev. Cheree’ Johnson. My father worked alongside Rev. Cheree’ as a chaplain when he was doing his residency program at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. It was then that I met Rev. Cheree’. Oh how I love her passion & heart SO very much. Rev. Cheree’ serves on the committee that organizes Pray for the Cure. She was how I was connected to the event & I am so grateful.
Another favorite part of the evening was seeing women hug each others necks & engage in conversation after Pray for the Cure was over.
Just like the song the Women of Vision sang said we need each other to survive.
What a night to remember.
For more information about Pray for the Cure, visit their facebook page HERE for more details, history, interviews & a complete list of speakers & groups who contributed to the event.