Three brave little girls from Oklahoma became lifelong friends after bravely battling cancer at the same time. The three girls posed for a photo together as they embraced and looked as though they were ready to battle the cancer hand-in-hand. The inspiring photo immediately went viral, but the girls’ battles were far from over.
Rheann Franklin, 7, Ainsley Peters, 5, and Rylie Hughey, 4, were all fighting rare forms of cancer when they met for a photography series. The girls instantly became friends and took the poignant portrait as a symbol of hope for one another.
Today reports that the photo almost immediately went viral after Goodger and Scantling Photography posted the image to their website and social media accounts. Goodger and Scantling Photography have a special project called “Once Upon a Memory” that features photos of young children battling cancer.
“The first shot with their eyes closed portrayed that they were there for each other during the fight and embracing each other for comfort, and this time I wanted to show their bond is still strong and that they beat it together.”
Scantling Photography says that they are so pleased to know that their photo of these young, brave girls is touching the hearts of those who see it. However, the photographers recently got an even bigger surprise when all three girls went into remission.
The photographers recreated the original photo, but this time, showing the battle won.
In the new photo, the girls are wearing the same dresses and lace headbands as the original photo, but this time their eyes are open and smiles grace their faces. Ainsley and Rylie have both grown back their hair after their treatments, and all three girls have rosy cheeks and more color in their skin.
The Daily Mail reports, “Rheann completed her final round of chemotherapy this week, Rylie is celebrating being cancer free for 15 months and Ainsley is receiving maintenance chemotherapy until the autumn.”
Ainsley’s mother has noted that the girls are great friends and that Ainsley can’t wait for her upcoming sixth birthday.
“She is looking forward to her 6th birthday in May and is full of energy on most days. She loves seeing Rylie and Rheann and catching up with her ‘famous’ friends.'”
Photographer Scantling says that she has become incredibly close to the girls and their families, noting that they will “always have a special bond.”
“I love getting to see them and love getting to spend time with their moms, too. After the session we sat and chatted about when the first photo was taken and how you can tell such a big difference in them. We talked about how the first photo went viral and how it has impacted all of our lives,and we talked about how neat it is to be able to use the girls to bring such a big awareness to this horrible disease. We will always have a special bond.”
The photos are being used to bring awareness to Ally’s House, an organization dedicated to children battling cancer. Ally’s House’s mission is support and serve Oklahoma kids with cancer and their families.
[Image Credit: Scantling Photography/ Ally’s House]