THE MAN WITH THE PONYTAIL AND THE EXPENSIVE
CAMERA WALKS INTO THEIR LIVES AT
THE MOST EMOTIONAL OF TIMES.
 

Heís not too friendly, not too reticent, not too anything.  Michael Price, 53 is just a man who usually photographs stodgy CEOs and image conscious models. But now, he begins his wait. For the right look, the right moment.

When it arrives, as it always does, he clicks and flashes and clicks some more. And then he has it. One more beautiful face for the wall. ďYouíd never know by looking at them that they were sick,Ē he says. But they are. Thatís the rub, thatís the injustice, thatís the reason Price has done what heís done. These are children with cancer. Children who know about needles and operations and vomiting and bald heads. Kids who know things no child should ever have to know. Not ever. Priceís project started about three years ago when he was taking pictures at a local hospital for some bureaucratic brochure. Something struck him.

Why are all these sick kids so happy? And he began his mission.

After much red tape, he found Teri Moran, executive director of the Connor Moran Childrenís Cancer Foundation, a group of funny, vibrant, grieving people (funny-grieving... cancer is full of oxymoron's) who help families when a child gets cancer.

And Michael Price started taking pictures. When each is done, when he has caught them at that moment that is so special, so beautiful, so alive with hope, Price frames the black & white photograph and hangs it in the hallway at the foundationís West Palm Beach office.

Forty-eight so far. The first was a kid named Michael Hanna, a boy so brave and happy that he took Priceís heart and squeezed, hard. Young Michael sat in a winged-back chair for his photo and wore two things he never left home without: His smile and his cowboy boots. Price takes the photos after chemotherapy, before they go to Gainesville or Miami for The Big Operation, whenever he can. He strolls into homes where emotion perches precariously on what could be lifeís last limb, and he captures that sick, frightened childís soul. A lot of times itís in their eyes.

Price said he took these pictures so other kids with cancer will see that life does go on. Children with cancer still swing and swim and dance and play the trumpet. Kids with cancer still laugh.  Kids with cancer are still kids.

Just ask Michael Price.

BY EMILY J. MINOR/PALM BEACH POST STAFF WRITER
(Reprinted With Permission From The Palm Beach Post)


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