Meet Vance | Beauty Revived

Last spring I was so excited and honored to be chosen as a photographer for Beauty Revived's "Most Beautiful Children" campaign for 2016. I put out the word and received several nominations for so many amazing children who do, have done, or been through so much, and believe me, the decision was a hard one. 

But first, let's back up...

WHAT IS BEAUTY REVIVED???

Beauty Revived is a photography movement whose mission it is to showcase real beauty.

Beauty Revived is an online and print publication dedicated to telling the stories of real people with real beauty.  In a world where the media celebrates only those with perfect skin, weight and hair, Beauty Revived is a movement that focuses on true and inner beauty.  Photographers from all over the world donate photography sessions to individuals who exemplify this real beauty.  These sessions are featured on the Beauty Revived blog and magazine.

THEIR MISSION STATEMENT:

To uplift, inspire and empower photographers of faith and integrity to shed light on the good, the strong and the beautiful.

AND NOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT, LET'S MEET VANCE AND HIS BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!

THIS IS VANCE.

Vance loves Minecraft, Legos, Star Wars, cheeseburgers, the Dallas Cowboys (he’s even FaceTimed with Tony Romo - how cool is that?), and most of all Vance loves his dog, Saylor, and golf! Luckily for Vance, his dad manages a golf course in Southeastern Wisconsin.

In 2014 at the age of 7, Vance began having seizures.  Originally they were looking at an epilepsy diagnosis, however the the seizure medication wasn’t working.  After an MRI found the first tumor, he was admitted that very day and soon after found himself in surgery where they removed a (ironically) golfball sized tumor from his brain. 

With some headaches and fatigue, 90 staples, and a 10 inch long incision after surgery,Vance had to take it easy but he seemed to bounce back really well.  If you ask Vance what he disliked most about being in the hospital, he’ll tell you 2 things: 1) the IV, and 2) the toys were really old. While in the ICU, they could see into the other rooms and that many kids were stuck in their beds. Vance asked his dad if he could take money out of the cash register at the golf course to buy toys for some of the kids.  His parents, Chad and Amanda, laughed and told him he was thoughtful but they couldn’t really do that.  

Once they got home, Vance just keep asking and asking how he could get toys to those kids. Together they decided to have a toy drive, and that’s how Vance’s Toy Voyage was born. They discounted the rate of golf with the donation of a toy all throughout the month of September as well as every Monday throughout the golf season.  They’ve now donated over 1000 toys and $1,500 to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in only two drives so far. 

Vance’s Toy Voyage has had a wonderful impact on the Wilks family. It brings them even closer since they are all involved and they love looking for ways to make it bigger and better every year.  Vance’s little sister, Harley, has begun having bake sales at the golf course to raise money to put toward this years new project which is parent packages.  Since the Wilks family went in to the hospital in a completely unexpected emergency situation they didn’t have anything with them, so they know what people need. Sadly, many other parents find themselves in similar emergency situations at the hospital and the parent packages will provide toiletries and other basic care and comfort items.  Harley has already raised $700 for the cause!

Last year in 2015, Vance was featured in the newspapers, on the news, and received the Wisconsin Hometown Hero Award presented to him by the state assembly. 

Vance remains on seizure medication and still has regular MRI’s. At a routine scan in September 2015, they learned there is another tumor.  It has not grown, so they are keeping a close eye on it and praying hard that it stays that way. 

Want to help out, too? You can!  Follow Vance's Toy Voyage on Facebook or on Instagram (or BOTH!) to stay updated.  

For example, did you know that 50% of all the patients at Children's Hospital are infants?  They are looking for taggies, oballs, and rattles to help soothe the little ones.  So if you are looking for ideas of things you could donate, Vance's Toy Voyage is hoping to collect a lot of those this year!  They can easily be found at Walmart, Target, or Amazon for around $5 - everything helps! 

Another option? You can receive discounted golf rates at Browns Lake Golf Course with the donation of a toy (especially one of the infant 0nes mentioned above)! 

Thank you Amanda, Chad, Vance, and Harley for letting me spend some time with your family and share it with my little piece of the world! 

Jessie MorrisComment