Brenda & Corazon ~ Pay It Forward Session ~ Chicago Anytime Photography

It’s been a while since I gave away the Pay It Forward Sessions back on Valentine’s Day, so some of you may not remember, or if you’re new here – you may never have known about it. (Here is a link to what it was all about if you’re curious… Pay It Forward and a link to the winners announcement.)

I don’t think I can just post pictures from this session without first telling you why this mother/daughter pair was nominated in the first place. And because the man who nominated them himself can tell their stories better than I can… I’m going to take a few quotes from the nomination email he sent me (that left me in tears, by the way).


I don’t know what to say other than I’m nominating these two women because I (their son/grandson) thinks they deserve it…in a nutshell, here’s why:

Mom (Brenda):

*She is a single mother who raised her kids on her own.

*She has always opened up her home to friends/relatives who needed a ‘start’. I remember countless times of different families living downstairs in our guest room for months until they were able to be on their own.

*She is a lung cancer survivor (Stage IV) and advocate, and continues to meet with other cancer patients to share her story and how she was able to get through her ordeal with the support of her family, doctors, and faith.

*She has always been very spiritual and since her diagnosis, has been even MORE involved with her church. Because of her cancer story, people call her a walking miracle (since they only gave her 3-4 months to live…and this was back in September 2001). It’s going to be her 10 year anniversary of ‘kickin’ cancer!

Grandma (Corazon):

*She is the most unselfish person I have ever known.

*She’s a giver and NEVER expects anything in return – and when she does get something, she looks at you with this smile that says everything she’s feeling…

*I feel like she’s always done everything for our family (and me) and I just want to give her something special she can remember/hold/see.

*Her name is Corazon, and she literally is my heart…


(I don’t know about you guys – but at that point I was a teary mess.)

I finally had the pleasure of meeting these two amazing women in July. We wandered around the Lincoln Park Zoo (more specifically the Lincoln Park Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory) to take photos on a very hot afternoon, but they were troopers about it (of course)! They both looked fabulous and were such a joy to work with and get to know.

It’s funny that although this was a give away session for them – I felt like I was the one who walked away with a gift. I felt lucky for having got to meet them, and was truly inspired by their passion for life and their stories of selflessness/caring for others.




It was wonderful to meet you Brenda and Corazon! I hope these photos bring back to you some of the joy that you have brought to others throughout your lives. xoxo!


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!