Brandi Stage Portraiture’s Charity Recipients
2015 BSP Charity Recipient, Sharon Merrill:
The first year’s recipient was my Uncle’s wife, Sharon, who was sent to Hospice after a long battle with cancer. I could see that this was a very special and challenging time for her and her family as they spent their moments sharing memories and their love for her. Sharon never gave up fighting. One of the many things that was special about her was her faith in Jesus. I remember Sharon expressing to me that she wasn’t afraid to die because she knew where she was going. We told each other we would see each other again in Heaven someday. She would also tell anyone and everyone she could about Jesus. She was and is an inspiration! Sharon inspired me to do something really special for other families and it has become what it is today because of her.
I knew I wanted to continue gifting people or families with and amazing experience heirloom portraits of their loved ones. Many I knew would be battling for their lives, had survived a battle or was affected by a loved one going through the same. The following year was spent continuing my education and building a portfolio that I loved and could market. It wouldn’t be until 2017 before the annual BSP Charity Recipient had officially started.
2017 BSP Charity Recipient, Amber Olsen & Her Girls:
The 2017 charity recipient that was laid on my heart was Amber Olsen. If you’ve ever met Amber then you know she is a tenacious and determined mother. Her daughter, Willow, was diagnosed with a rare disease called multiple sulfatase deficiency. Amber created The United MSD Foundation and is currently the only organization in the US registered with the National Organization for Rare Disease. She wouldn’t tolerate anyone telling her that there wasn’t anything that could be done for Willow and other children like her. She’s a powerhouse in strength although I am not sure that she would see herself that way at all especially in beginning of her journey. Time has a way of showing you what you’re made of.
Amber has two other daughters and a husband. Amber came with her other two girls for a Girl’s Day Out session enjoying some treasured time together laughing and enjoying themselves when at that time these kinds of moments were few and far between. Her husband brought Willow at the end of the shoot so we could capture gorgeous portraits of her with her sisters and Mom. Please see more of their story here: http://curemsd.org/ and http://curemsd.org/families/willow/ .
2018 BSP Charity Recipient Christina Kemp & Her Girls:
The 2018 recipient was Christina Kemp and her daughters. My husband, John, had a heart attack that February and felt that the 2018 recipient would be heart related. Christina and I had gone to the same high school and we ran into each other and we had a very special moment together sharing our experiences. Christina had lost her husband to a heart attack a year prior. I knew it was her. Her and her girls came to the studio and had their makeup done by Jackie Merlau Hall. Arrayed in gorgeous studio wardrobe and accessories it was a full on pamper session! These images were their first family images since the passing of Christina’s beloved husband and the girl’s beloved Dad. What an honor to photograph them at such a time as this!
It is time to start looking for our next recipient and for the first time we are opening it up to nominations! Do you have someone in mind that this experience and heirloom portraits would bless? Please submit your nominees to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include their full name/s, their story and why you’ve nominated them.
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.