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Soul Connections Soulumination's Annual Newsletter 2017

Our Mission

Soulumination celebrates the lives of children and parents facing life-threatening conditions by providing professional photographs of these special individuals and their families, free of charge.

The Angel Babies program serves families with children (18 & under) facing life-threatening conditions. The Adult Legacy program serves families with terminally-ill parents who have children ages 18 & under.

The life-affirming photographs of Soulumination are an enduring, positive record of the child's life, and provide a loving legacy for the children of parents lost to terminal illness.

233 PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS provided in 2016

A Letter from Our Founder

Lynette Huffman Johnson

This year has been one of growth and change, challenge and rewards. We have had a major donor step forward that will help us to expand our work in the greater Seattle area. We hope to build stronger alliances with many of the local hospitals. We are incredibly thankful that our first luncheon was a great success. The words of Soul mom, Renee Young, were moving and inspiring, even for those of us who have been with Soul from the start. The families we serve constantly inspire us. We are invigorated to move forward and to keep serving with open hearts.

We were honored to have glassybaby dedicate funds from their ‘MOM’ candle in the month of May to our mission. This type of giving means that others around the country will hear about our work and I always hope it will move photographers to start offering similar legacy images.

Our office staff has never been stronger and each volunteer has talent that allows the quality of the work to be exceptionally high. The dedication of many of our high school and college volunteers has been outstanding this summer and continues through the school year. Our regular office volunteers: Barb, Bob, Marcia, Darcy, Jeff and Shirley have added to our work in so many ways.

Lymphoma continues to alter my ability to be available to serve families directly with my camera. It may not be clear to some of you that the type of cancer I have has never been cured. With current options, the remainder of my life will see me in treatment each time the nodes grow to a dangerous size. After a failed attempt at an auto stem cell transplant I was given time away from treatment. We will revisit my options in early fall and may have a new plan by the time this letter is published.

Recently a long time friend and supporter of Soulumination put these words on my Facebook page: “Maybe you’ve been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” Those words are a bit grand for what I am able to do, but I will try to lead Soulumination in ways that honor lives with beautiful photographic legacies. I will advocate and try to reach out in support of others going thru treatment. It will be my goal to raise funds to allow brilliant minds to conduct needed research. I feel blessed and thankful to have this life and with that the responsibility to make the most of each day.

I am happily working daily in my art room to create new angels and other items for the December Artists’ Sale. I will work with my doctors to be available to make even more wreaths and to see this year’s sale be the most successful ever. I’m really looking forward to our artists’ sale this year. We have so many exciting new artists and products and I can’t wait to share them all with you. Our goal this year is to have our regular shoppers each bring a new friend to the sale to grow the base of support as our work expands.

My letter always concludes with the names of those we served who did not survive. Please read with reverence and let these names inspire you to kindness and service. In deepest sympathy I share these names: Alliona, Andrew, Angela, Annika, Arianna, Blake, Bob, Brandon, Brynnleigh, Cash, Ciarin, Cooper, Cora, Daisy, Daniel, David, Delila, Douglas, Elijah, Emery, Eric, Evelyn, Francine, Gabby, Giovani, Hayat, Henrik, Henry, Ian, Ilayda, Iris, Jack, Jacob, Jacqueline, Jaymz, Joshua, Julissa, Justin, Kaelyn, Kaitlyn, Kassidae, Kayden, Keith, Kenzie, Kimberly, Kinescia, Kiona, Kit, Konstantinos, Kylie, Lachlan, Laura, Leandra, Lewis, Lily, Lucas, Lydia, Maci, Maite, Matthew, Mlooglug, Muff, Nya, Olivia, Reid, Robert, Rowyn, Seaby, Shawn, Skyler, Sophie, Stella, Tadiwose, Talia, Taylor, Tom Jr., Traelyn, Vika, Violet, Wesley, Whitney, and Zachary.

In love and peace,

Lynette

60 professional photographers volunteering their time

Our Family Story

A letter from Soul Mother, Aimee Lybbert

My son is gone. We tried to hold on to Christian so tightly and we gave everything our family had to keep him with us. But despite all our efforts, his spirit slipped through our fingers and he is now gone.

We heard what no family ever wants to hear-- "There's nothing more we can do."

At that point the only thing we could do is carry out the plan B that we had always had. Most people plan birthday celebrations, but I planned a death day celebration. Soulumination was a central part of my plan. I knew I could call them at any time and someone would come. That day came at the end of July 2016 in the rooftop garden of Children's Hospital and our favorite photographer was there with our family during that sacred moment.

Having lived in the hospital for 11 months, I started to recognize the outward signs on the unit that a child was not going to make it. The nurses would get the memory cart and park it in the hallway. They would carry the couch from the quiet room in the CICU and bring it into the room where family would hold the child. Family often accompanied by hospital chaplains would be ushered to the child's room with tears streaming down their cheeks. All of these signs brought sorrow. But the one that brought hope to me was the sign of a Soulumination Photographer carting their camera and gear to the child's room.

My son was born with a rare complex congenital heart defect but I found other families at Children's like ours. There were 13 of us that had babies around the same time at the beginning of 2013 like my son. Christian was the 6th one in our group to pass away. He was only three and a half. One common thing that I heard the grieving mothers say was that they were eternally grateful for the pictures they got, especially the ones taken at the time of their child's passing. The ones that did not take pictures said that was one of their biggest regrets.

One day, months after his passing, one of my children went over to Christian's cabinet to the drawer where the photos of the sunny day in July are kept. Weeping silently at first, they started to go through the pictures. I just sat next to my child and we went through the photos. Soon it turned into those full body sobs that only grief seems to unearth and I held this grieving older sibling and sobbed alongside. We chose not to display the photos, but the children knew where they were kept. This child had protected their heart for months and not allowed the gravity of that moment sink in until it was safe at home to process it and those photos were the key.

I didn't fully understand why you would want pictures of when your child passes away until I became one of those grieving mothers. Our children are gone. There are no more birthdays and no more milestones. Every time my family gathers I feel this gaping hole where he should be. He is gone.

Every day, after that day on the rooftop, distances me further away from the last time I held him. My arms ache for him. Instead of frantically trying to hold him here on earth, now I feel this frantic anxiety about trying to hold on to his memory and the time we were gifted with Christian. His beloved stuffed dog that he clung to through every surgery and hospitalization doesn't smell like him anymore. It seems like everything is losing the once crisp edges from the time when Christian was still here.

But what does not fade is the treasure trove I have, the pictures that were taken by Soulumination. I have the printed photos, I have photo books, I've got the cutest keepsakes with his pictures all lovingly assembled by amazing volunteers at Soulumination. But most importantly to me, I have the discs with all the pictures from each session.

He is gone and my arms are empty, but my hands and heart are full thanks to this amazing organization.

Death is a universal part of life. It comes to all races, social status, culture, and even every age. I know that my child was not the last to pass away in that same garden. There will never be an end to the phone calls that come to Soulumination but I know Soulumination will be there no matter who needs them as long as we continue to support and lift them up. It doesn't matter how much money a person has or earns, Soulumination will gift a photography session to each family free of charge. Their loved ones will still be gone, but we can help preserve a sliver of time for their families to hold on to.

Aimee Lybbert

You CAN REFER A FAMILY to OUR SERVICES. Call (206)297-0885.

Why do I photograph for Soulumination?

A letter from our Volunteer Photographer, Michael Good

There are many reasons, but it starts with the power of the photograph and how important pictures are to everyone.

As a career professional photographer, first at newspapers and then as a wedding photographer, telling stories through images has been my life's mission. In fact, in recent years I've started thinking of myself as really being in the memory business. Because that's what pictures are. They are a way of capturing events and people so we can relive them our entire lives.

When the terrible tragedy of Katrina hit several years ago and people were given just minutes to evacuate their homes, they didn't grab TVs and computers to take with them. They grabbed family photo albums. They grabbed precious memories.

That's why I photograph for Soulumination. When you lose a loved one, there's nothing more important than being able to hold close the memories of that person. When I photograph, I try to be invisible ... a fly on the wall. I want my pictures to go beyond what people look like, I want them to show the love and the emotions that exist between them. I want these parents to look at those images 20 years from now and feel all those emotions and that bond.

I see pictures with my eyes, but I photograph with my heart.

Michael Good

SINCE 2005, SOULUMINATION HAS GIFTED OVER 2,000 PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS TO FAMILIES IN NEED.

Soulumination provided 233 photography sessions to families in need in 2016.

Families are gifted all rights to their images with the option to release them to Soulumination for use in bringing awareness to our work.

Thank you to the incredible photographers donating their time & talent to our mission.

The following individuals provided photography sessions to families between January 2016 and July 2017.

Diane Ahern

Charlie Ainslie

Danielle Barnum

Renee Bergeron

Locke Bradley

Jennifer Bugbee

Randell Carmer Walton

Karen Carter-Schwendler

Kelly Chandler

Carolyn Coffee

Bryce Covey

Stephanie Cristalli

Anastasia Day

Stephanie Dodson

Natalia Dotto

Susan Doupé

Lena Eivy

Michelle Enebo

Adair Freeman Rutledge

Pierre Frevol

Michael Good

Annie Graebner

Kari Gray

Emily Greer

Carol Harrold

Wenmei Hill

Deena Hofstad

Robert Hood

Lynette Huffman Johnson

Neal Johnson

Leo Lam

Sarah Landa

Jennifer Lavallee

Anna Lee

Nick Leung

Libby Lewis

Dawn Lucrisia

Crystal Malta

Sarah Mattingly

Corinne McNeely

Fairon Minshall

Dana Napoleon

Carrie Nelson

Kim Preston

Jennifer Richard

Elizabeth Robinson

Rebecca Roper

Jodi Rosen

Sheila Ryan

Josh Samson

Jennifer Sandmeyer

Luc Schoonjans

Katie Simmons

Kurt Smith

Lynette Smith

Cindi Soderman

Ruby Somera

Megan Takagi

Julie Templin

Chelon Towner

Fischer Wallace

Stephanie Walls

Anne Young

Carrie Yuan

Soulumination serves families at Camp Agape NW

Camp Agape NW provides an all-expense-paid weeklong overnight camp for the whole family of a child with cancer. Camp Agape NW gives children with cancer a chance to feel normal, siblings a chance to feel special, and parents a time to be together. Soulumination has been working with Camp Agape NW for 11 years. In those 11 years, we have provided 184 photography sessions to families fighting cancer.

EVERY HOUR WORKED BY A SOULUMINATION EMPLOYEE IS MATCHED BY A SOULUMINATION VOLUNTEER.

Soulumination serves families at the National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Conference

The annual NTSAD conference empowers, supports and connects families coping with Tay-Sachs, Canavan, GM-1 or Sandhoff. Soulumination offers a photography session to each family attending the conference with an affected child. Since 2007, we have provided 216 photography sessions to affected families.

IN 2016, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVELY DONATED OVER $93,000 OF SERVICES TO OUR MISSION.

Soulumination serves families at the MLD Foundation Conference.

The MLD Foundation serves families throughout the world affected by metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), a terminal genetic disease. For the first time, Soulumination provided photographs to families attending the conference.

On average, it costs Soulumination $589 to provide a family with a Legacy photography package

Please join us for our upcoming events:

Please contact Llewelyn at Llewelyn@Soulumination.org or (206)297-0885 if you are interested in being a Lunch with Soul sponsor or table captain.

To support Soulumination's mission while shopping on Amazon.com, please shop through Smile.Amazon.com and designate Soulumination as your beneficiary.

To directly support Soulumination's operations, please consider a purchase from our carefully curated Amazon Wish List.

If you shop at Town & County Ballard Market, please donate your shopping receipts to Soulumination's office. Ballard Market will donate 1% of your total to our mission through their community giving program.

in 2016, Soulumination volunteers worked 4,658 HOURS, donating services worth $178,635.

A heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers

*List is composed of volunteers from August 1st, 2016 through July 31st, 2017

On APril 20th, 2017, attendees of our First Annual Luncheon, Lunch with Soul, Pledged over $49,000 to our mission.

Thank you to our monetary and in-kind donors.

*List is composed of donors from August 1st, 2016 through July 31st, 2017

Soulumination's Financials

2016 Income: $166,491

2016 Expenses: $160,154

Special thanks to

Annie’s Art and Frame

Andrew & Sara-Anne Barfoot

CameraTechs

Evergreen Computer Products

glassybaby

Brandy Ivy

Debbie & Kirk Johnson

Laurel Place

Moonphoto

Claire Nieman

Nintendo

Outcast & Company

Julie Pursell

Soulumination's Board of Trustees

Lynette Johnson, Founder

Randell Carmer, President

Jodi Rosen, Vice-President

Briana Miles, Treasurer

Katelin Villamil, Secretary

Natalia Dotto

Monica Gardenier

Darcy Hartz

Wenmei Hill

Melissa Osvaldik

Gina Short

Angie Sutphen

Emeritus Board Advisors

Mark Hamby

Kelly McNelis

Fred Moody

Lori Sawyer

Staff

Susan Doupé, Director

Llewelyn Miner, Development Manager

Kellie Kawahara-Niimi, Volunteer Manager

Heather Baker, Artists’ Sale Coordinator

Beth Neils, Bookkeeper

Contact us

Soulumination's office is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.

Our address is 1113 NW 52nd Unit A, Seattle, WA 98107.

(206)297-0885

info@soulumination.org

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