Mashed Potatos for Breakfast chronicles Max Mikulak's fight for his life against relapsed neuroblastoma. A photojournalism collaboration between professional photographer Deb Schwedhelm and Max's parents, our goal with this project is to raise awareness and ultimately drive action to make sure that Max and other children like him win their fight and live to see adulthood.Will's Dad says this
Because the most intense moments in this journey are not times where you stop and say "hold on honey while I go get the camera". Because of this, those moments are rarely captured, seen, or shared so by Deb's participation you will be privy to a lot of moments that otherwise don't see the light of day.We have a few pictures from the bad times or otherwise powerful times, but not many. Most of those exist out of luck or being very intentional about capturing those moments. I think photo records of these journeys tend to be very similar to the blogs and journals that parents keep. You might think we are conveying the truth and the gory details, but most of the really hard physical and emotional stuff gets held back. There are a thousand reasons for this. Sometimes it is too painful to recount the details. Sometimes we can't help but protect the reader. And sometimes we just have to convey the hopeful aspects of this painful journey. Something that gets lost is the beauty and the bravery of these sick kids. People who aren't in the trenches can't help but find these children inspiring, but the reality is that they don't see or know half of it.
I have seen a few other photo projects. Some of them have documented the battle and one was an amazingly brave documentation of the end of life. I haven't seen an attempt at a sustained photo project and I think it is a great project and one that might not only raise awareness, but also perhaps raise the veil a bit more so that people can get more of a glimpse not only of the beauty and bravery of Max, but of the beauty and bravery of all of our cancer kids.
I'm not sure that I will be able to follow along the journey, but it seems a very promising project and a journey worth following.