The Picture of Hope
Pablove Shutterbugs provides a valuable creative outlet for New Orleans children with cancer and a way for anyone to buy art with a purpose.
“Children deserve to be children,” says Charlotte Rolfs. “Their scars should tell an exciting story of a wild adventure climbing trees in a make-believe Medieval forest or, more simply, running into a pile of sticks in the race for Halloween candy, rather than have a lifetime of scars from cancer treatments.”
Rolf is a local board member for The Pablove Foundation, a nonprofit that takes a unique approach to improving the lives of children living with cancer by putting cameras in their hands with its program, “Pablove Shutterbugs.” The youth use the camera lens to find hope, healing and discover a way to tell their stories. Pablove also invests in cutting-edge cancer research to speed their cures.
“Kids get cancer and cancer doesn’t stop just because of Covid,” says Rolfs. “Pablove provides both the emotional support to kids going through cancer and also the hope in the innovative research they’re funding to find cures.”
Since 2011, The Pablove Foundation has awarded more than $3 million in childhood cancer research grants to more than 25 institutions worldwide. With this money, researchers are zeroing in on new treatments and life-saving cures for many childhood cancers.
“Four cents of every $1 of federal cancer research funding goes to childhood cancer,” says Rolfs. “This is why the work I do with The Pablove Foundation is so important. With cancer being the No. 1 leading cause of death by disease in kids under the age of 18, this is a huge problem. We need more researchers in labs, and that takes dollars. Our kids are worth more than 4 cents on the dollar and organizations like Pablove are here to fund the gap and drive new, novel solutions outside of government funding.”
The organization operates in seven cities including right here in New Orleans.
This year, in response to COVID-19, the Pablove Shutterbugs program quickly adapted to offer their classes virtually, for the first time ever. They are serving kids with cancer regardless of their location and even bringing the program to those children in-hospital.
Cancer, like all disease, takes a tremendous toll, physically, and emotionally, and often requires that a patient be in isolation.
“As human beings, we are social creatures and rely on community to survive and thrive,” says Rolfs. “Social isolation can have devastating effects on a child in the first place, but can you imagine being a child taking adult doses of toxic therapies that might cure their cancer but at the same time keep them forever immunocompromised? Like, forever.”
These kids and parents need a break, and this program offers one.
“The Pablove Shutterbugs program was the first real normal kid activity that Jack was able to participate in after his diagnosis,” says Jessica White, whose son was treated for leukemia and participated in the Shutterbugs program. “To go from the rigors of the hospital room and out-patient clinic treatments and total isolation at home to an exciting and creative, kid-centered photography class was a life saver for us.”
The program culminated with her son’s work being hung in a real art show in a gallery on Royal Street.
“It allowed Jack to be special for all the right reasons,” she says. “I think even he was surprised by the way his photographs allowed him to express himself.”
Rolfs shares that if she realized one thing in this crazy year, it’s that you get so much more out of giving than taking.
“And that feeling is incomparable,” she says. “I invite you to feel it with us and stand up for kids with cancer. Together, we can do so much good and bring so much joy to these kids who deserve it the most!”
Pablove’s Mission: “Helping kids with cancer live a love-filled life today, and a cancer-free life tomorrow.”
Phone (323) 657-5557
On Thursday, December 17, 2020, from 6-7 p.m., the organization will host a virtual art gallery. This is a special online event that celebrates the photographic artwork of local NOLA Shutterbugs. To learn more or to RSVP, please visit: pablove.org/nolasho
How Readers Can Help?
Pablove relies on the generosity of supporters from here in New Orleans, and carefully stewards every dollar. “We hope anyone reading this, who has been touched by childhood cancer, is inspired to give,” Rolfs says.
Also, consider a Pablove Print as a holiday gift. All fine art prints are taken by a child or teen with cancer and come beautifully shipped to your door with a certificate of authenticity and 100% of all proceeds directly fund cancer research. You can shop the full gallery at: www.pabloveprints.org.
How Businesses Can Help?
The organization needs businesses to sponsor the upcoming New Orleans Shutterbugs Virtual Gallery Show. Rolfs suggests that by joining as a Shutterbugs Virtual Gallery Show sponsor businesses can showcase their altruistic spirit, reach new audiences and best of all, support local cancer families here in our backyard. They are also looking for businesses to donate items for the online auction.