You may remember that a little while ago, Hywel blogged about The 100 Project. The project is coming along really well and we are delighted to announce that after reaching the half-way point (50 people and counting!) we have now launched the website: 100 Just Like You.
We wanted to tell you a little bit about the fun we have had along the way and some of the amazing and inspiring people we have met.
It is very easy for us to take photos in and around Cheltenham, but we have met some really inspiring people, just like you. Take Karen, for example. She is a GP who really enjoys skiing and opera. We met Karen at her favourite coffee shop, Hot Pepper Jelly. This curious little coffee shop is tucked away in the fashionable 'Suffolks' area of Cheltenham. It has a beautiful interior, with mismatched chairs and tables, a painting of the Eiffel Tower on white brickwork, and various quirky lamps and ornaments scattered around. HPJ makes a mean hot chocolate, and we spent a happy hour chatting with Karen before taking her photograph. We also met Maureen, who absolutely loves her allotment in Brockworth. Maureen is full of smiles and confesses that whilst her allotment is not the tidiest on the plot, she loves going there and making an effort. Frankly, anyone who can successfully grow vegetables is impressive in our books. She also has a really cool hat.
We have also done a bit of travelling. We spent a wonderful day in Nottingham meeting Lisa and Nadine - an inspiring duo who call themselves 'the chemo twins'. They have been through an awful lot together and we photographed them in various locations along the route for Nottingham Race for Life, which was an emotional occasion for both of them.
A happy, but incredibly manic weekend, was spent in London, where we met and photographed about thirteen people in different locations around the city. We absolutely loved this day because it was crazy, but so much fun. People travelled from far and wide to be a part of this project, and to make a difference. We met adults and children, the youngest of whom was just two and a half. Whether it was almost being attacked by a giant anthropomophic scorpion in the Natural History Museum (I wasn't entirely comfortable with the 'creepy crawlies' exhibit, but of course, seven year-old Robert LOVED it!), or trying to photograph Caroline's entire family on the South Bank (all of whom had travelled for an hour to be there), we had a really fantastic time.
We had cause to travel again when a superstar called Lisa got in touch from Manchester to request whether her beautiful daughter Maisie could get involved with the project. Manchester is a fair trek from Cheltenham, so we said that if she could rally together five or so other participants, then we would go. She gathered a whole crowd! We photographed several more people in Manchester, including the amazing Ruby - an eight year-old with her own shoe-customising business! We also met Jess, who is 12. She is a fan of unicorns, so we instantly became friends. We were inspired by Steve, who is a keen LLR supporter. He travelled with his daughter Sophie to meet us. It turns out that Sophie is pretty good at art direction, which was really handy.
However, we need your help. We need to get to 100, in order that businesses will take the project seriously and start to sponsor it. We also would like to expand the project this year, because we have had so many enquiries and just cannot reach everybody that we want to reach. We have ideas for expansion, but need the initial project to be a success first.
We need to find more people who have survived cancer. We also need people and businesses who would be willing to sponsor a photograph.
We want to spread the good news that the work of LLR is changing the world. More and more people are surviving cancer and we need to get people talking about it. Of course, there is a flipside to what we are doing and we received a very stark reminder of this just before Christmas. We were so very sad to receive the news that someone we had lined up for a photograph passed away, leaving an 18 month-old daughter and a wife behind. We cannot sit and watch this happen to more families and so we will keep going, for him and for every other family affected by cancer.