THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Six children fighting cancer scored their own reality showcase. A photo gallery opening in The Woodlands this weekend captured months of raw, emotional ups and downs. Its stars cannot wait to share their stories.
Bailee Malmgren, 5, is fighting Down Syndrome and Leukemia. She is one of six whose battle with cancer will be on display at Glade Gallery Saturday in photographer Sherina Welch’s “More Than Four Project.” It aims to raise awareness to disparities in cancer research funding and boost support for pediatric cancer through a gallery that shows Rio, Dylan, Colt, Bailee, Willow and Jessy’s private ups and downs during treatment.
“My name is Willow (Kreitz), and I have Leukemia,” Willow said.
“My first name is Jessica and I fought Hodgkins Lymphoma,” said Jessy Sowell, another survivor.
“My mom signed me up for a photographer thing, and (the photographer) always takes pictures of me,” Willow said.
“It was actually really fun,” Jessy added. “I really like photos.”
“Sometimes I’m curious of why she takes pictures of when I’m sad and sometimes I’m curious when she takes pictures when my heart is racing,” Willow said. “I think it’s kind of cool and also kind of strange. People can see what cancer is like and if their child has cancer, they can know what will happen.”
“The diagnosis was really hard on me,” Jessy said. “My grandma had died five years ago because of breast cancer, and so I was actually really nervous my mom would lose me as she lost her mother.”
“This is a crazy journey,” said Kerrilee Malmgren, Bailee’s mother. “But, if something good, more people understanding pediatric cancer can come from that, we’re excited about that.”
“We have an awesome photographer,” Jessy said. “We have awesome parents in our group. We have awesome children. I feel this is going to be an amazing gala.”
The gallery opens at 7 p.m. Saturday inside 24 Waterway Avenue in The Woodlands. Its owner, Drago Tapu, plans to donate 25 percent of art purchased during the event to the project.