Orlando photographer, Chris Glenn, has taken on hundreds of projects in his professional career, mostly wedding and celebrity shoots. Chris’ latest assignment, however, was different. Today, he was tasked with transforming a critically ill little girl into the Disney Princess of her dreams.
“I’ve done a lot of shoots in my career but being able to provide life-long memories for families facing childhood illness has quickly become a profound passion of mine,” Chris told Majically News.
5-year-old, Olivia McCleary, has not had an easy life. After being born weighing only 1 lb. 4 oz., Olivia was diagnosed with a variety of illnesses including cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, patent ductus arteriosus, Lynnox-Gastaut Syndrome, and most recently, Pilarowski-Bjornsson Syndrome — a condition so rare only 10 people in the world have been diagnosed with it. Unfortunately, none of those 10 people survived longer than a couple years.
But that doesn’t mean Olivia’s willing to give up.
“I don’t want to hear she is going to leave us,” Olivia’s mom, Katie Jackson, told Majically News.
“The day she tells us she’s ready we’ll have that conversation, but today I want her to live. I want to let her be a kid. I want her to know how much she’s loved, to enjoy today, to look forward to tomorrow, and to never, ever give up.”
But despite the illnesses Olivia lives with, she is a very strong, high-energy, and brave little girl who changes the lives of people she meets.
“She makes a difference in the lives she touches,” Katie continued. “Everyone she meets, it seems, ends up wrapped around her little finger.”
“She has put people on their knees before that have never been on their knees for anyone. I even have a picture of her with an outlaw motorcycle club that fell in love with her. She’s changed lives.”
And Chris was no different. From the minute he met Olivia, something in him changed – just like her mom said it would.
“Seeing her smile and laugh like nothing else was going on touched my heart. She reminded me of how fragile life is, but also how beautiful and freeing it is to live in the moment,” Chris said of the shoot.
“It makes you realize that life is short for all of us, and the everyday problems we tend to focus on, don’t really matter. What matters is that we are happy during our time here and we make memories with the people who are most important to us.”
Olivia was asked several questions during her time with Chris and the Majic Messengers team, but there was one question which set the stage for the entire project.
“I want to be brave, and I want to be Elsa,” Olivia told Majic Messengers when asked what she wanted to be when she grows up.
But growing up to be “brave Elsa” didn’t have to wait long. While Olivia and her family were visiting Give Kids The World, Chris and Majic Messengers knew exactly how to make that dream come true – a photoshoot to cement this princess in time, as Elsa, forever.
So, with pretend ice shooting from her palms, and harnessing all the power and magic of Elsa herself, Olivia was captured as the one true Ice Princess in a fairytale photoshoot this family will never forget.
These moments are at the heart of Majic Messengers’ mission. Although Chris’ photos do make an invaluable keepsake for families to cherish and keep happy memories alive forever, they also act as strength to those who need some light in dark times.
“It’s sad to think about but being able to share these happy moments — and what sometimes are last moments — is really important,” said Chris. “I am honored to be able to meet these families and can only hope that I touch their lives as much as they touch mine.”
“I can’t even imagine what they’re going through, but like it does for me, I hope these memories can spark happiness in their hearts forever.”
None of this would be possible without Give Kids The World Village, which works tirelessly to give these families a little magic that will last a lifetime. If you want to get involved, please consider donating here.