There are many individuals and organizations that help cancer patients in various ways, but there is nothing quite like Anything Can Be – a non-profit project, created by Jonathan Diaz, a Salt Lake City lawyer-turned-photographer. The project brings hope and happiness to children suffering from cancer by bringing their dream to life through the power of photography and art.
In 2014, Diaz decided to aim his lens at children with cancer. With help from public donations/corporate sponsorship, he created elaborate sets and costumes to actualize the fantasies of cancer kids. He believes that anyone deserves one magical day to forget their troubles. For this reason, he takes fantasy photographs of these kids in their dream settings to inspire them.
Braelyn The Super Hero
“OUR MISSION: To create lasting hope and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer by taking the dreams of pediatric cancer patients and bringing them to life through the power of photography and art. To inspire young cancer fighters to believe in the impossible to hope for miracles and find the courage to make their dreams come true. To inspire others to recognize and cultivate their talents then use those talents to better our world and enrich the lives of others.”
William the Dragon Rider
“These kids are amazing – the thing that strikes me most is their optimism,” Diaz told PEOPLE. “In spite of them fighting a painful disease that is hard on their young bodies, they’re so full of hope. And I wanted to share that hope through their fantasies.”
Annika the Fashion Designer
“The kids want to be princesses, they want to be soccer heroes, fairies and firemen,” Diaz said. “To see them smiling and laughing at the photo shoots makes it all worthwhile. I love that they’re able to forget their worries for a while and live out their dreams.”
Ethan The Hero
With Jonathan, it’s more than about making a book – it’s about creating a meaningful experience for a child who is going through an unbelievably hard time. He takes every opportunity to make the experience special for each kid.
Ellie The Baker
“These kids show so much courage – they inspire me every day,” he says. “They’re an example to all of us. They have so much to live for and so much to give. I hope they carry the feeling they get from living out their dreams at my photo shoots for the rest of their lives.”
Tristan The Football Player
Cami the Fairy
Trisha Anderson, 26, a single mom from Riverside, Calif, says she will never forget Diaz’s kindness as he helped her 3-year-old daughter Lilly Bumpus who is now in remission from Ewing sarcoma bone cancer.
“Jon Diaz sees the power that lies within each child,” Anderson said. “He is sharing that power with the world through his pictures. I’ll forever remember Lilly’s smile as she saw herself in his book and said, ‘God took away my cancer, mommy, and now I’m a real princess.’ In that moment, anything truly could be.”
Carson The Bull Rider
Caimbre the Mermaid
Elizabeth, Diaz’s wife, says she has never seen her husband more passionate and carefree. “He’ll spend hours, usually around 20, creating just one image,” she says. “The artwork created for each child is so much more than an amazing photograph that they get to hang in their home. It’s meant to be a reminder of hope and a future with no limits.”
Jordan in Wonderland
Night Fairy Pink
Rae The Princess
Tristan the Footballer
Rae and Unicorn
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More info: jmdiazphotography.com