Mikayla Rietgraf : Senior

I know Mikayla from my church growing up. She has grown into a beautiful woman inside and out, and has an amazing story. I asked if I could share her story on my blog with her pictures and she was very enthusiastic about sharing it with others. 

When Mikayla was 8 years old, she was diagnosed with stage IV Ewing's Sarcoma (bone cancer). She had a primary tumor the size of a racquetball in her left pelvis that was inoperable as well as 6 tumors in her lungs that had spread from the primary tumor. (She was given a 20% chance of survival.) She went through 14 rounds of inpatient chemo at Blank, 37 rounds of proton radiation at MD Anderson in Houston and 10 rounds of lung radiation. After a year and a half of treatment she was declared NED (no evidence of disease). After 5 more years of clear scans she was declared in remission. Praise GOD! Though her hip hasn't grown since she was 10 due to radiation, she is able to do most everything that she wants to do. She receives cortisone shots in her hip for pain and when those stop working she will need some type of surgical help. Throughout her battle with cancer she received Bravery Beads for each individual treatment and procedure she went through, like CAT scans, Chemo, etc. She brought her beads to her shoot and I was very excited to capture some photos of her with them.  

Mikayla's goal is to become a Child Life Specialist and work in a children's hospital with sick kids, just like the specialists that spent countless hours with her. She also hopes that her story can be an encouragement to parents and children going through similar situations that she and her family went through. 

She has such a fun personality and has a love for being barefoot and spending time outdoors. Here are some of my favorites from her senior shoot: