Hope and Inspiration don't normally come packaged neatly in a packet prepared for you to give out as gifts but now they do. One local photographer has come up with a present so special it lasts a lifetime.
Peek between the pages of the 2014 Hope And Inspiration calendar and the faces featured, the smiles in the snapshots, immediately tell you there's something to celebrate.
"There is life after cancer. You can go on. You can live a happy, healthy life," smiles Joan Rosenthal who was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2001. Rosenthal has been cancer free for 12 years now.
Check out Miss January, Miss December and every lovely lady in between. The calendar is filled with mothers who battled cancer posing with her children.
"I feel like the thing that lasts forever is a photo," explains photographer Alisa Murray. Murray has been putting the calendar together for 10 years. "I've always donated 100% of the proceeds. I don't make a dime off of this calendar".
The money from every calendar sold will go to Memorial Hermann Hospital Breast Care Centers. "These funds will be used throughout our breast centers across the Houston area for women after they are diagnosed with breast cancer. We have yoga classes for them. We have artistic painting classes. The aftercare for the patient is very important because it helps with their emotional needs. It helps give them a positive outlook and improves their recovery process," explains Cheryl Bertrand with Memorial Hermann Breast Care Centers.
"You make a living as a photographer but you've got to stop and give back," Murray explains. The calendar normally features women who are survivors of breast cancer. For the first time a woman who is a survivor of ovarian cancer is featured and that's my mommy. My beautiful mom Phyllis Keith is Miss May in the 2014 Hope And Inspiration calendar. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May of 2012. My daughter and I are pictured with her in the calendar.
Murray was inspired to kick-off the calendar when her friend Joan began her battle with breast cancer. "If anything happened to me she wanted my daughter to have pictures of me," explains Rosenthal.
So what do the women featured in the calendar hope they're saying to others by appearing in the calendar? "Early detection is very important. I am also now doing the cancer free diet. What you eat is critical," explains Angela Lavespere who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012.
Everyone in the calendar is wearing a shade of pink. All the pink is perfect this breast cancer awareness month but don't forget your teal. Teal is the color of ovarian cancer awareness.
You can buy the 2014 Hope and Inspiration calendar at the Memorial Hermann Foundation.
"Then of course www.alisamurray.com. You can go to my website and get access to it. We can ship out however many you need, 1 or 100," smiles Murray.