First time I met our first lady was in 2010 and for some reason I feel like I’ve known her forever. I will always remember my first job with her, a “Hat Party” (search it under my blog) that was phenomenal.
Kim Simplis Barrow is the first lady of Belize and the Founder and Director of Lifeline Foundation. LIFELINE FOUNDATION is a charity trust relief organization which collects funds from the community and manages these funds, using the income to deliver food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to children who lack these essentials due to hunger, poverty or natural disaster.
II have worked with LIFELINE for a few years now, photographing their annual fundraising events (Black & White Gala & (search Lifeline under my blog to see them) and I got to see Kim as a friend… When she told me that she have breast cancer, I couldn’t believe it. She is actually first person with breast cancer that i’ve met. This was something that was and quite hard for me to accept.
For months, we were talking about a formal photoshoot in gorgeous outfits. It was just after her first chemo and she noticed her hair was starting to fall out, that we decided to do the photoshoot. So, last year, 1 month before Christmas, we had our photoshoot. It was one of the most emotional photoshoots I ever did and probably the most challenging one. Kim was tired and to change clothes, have your make-up & hair done (thank you Carlos!), looking at your best… after your first chemotherapy session, trust me, it’s not easy. I don’t even know how she did it… so, this was my first photoshoot with her sick and the photos were spectacular. She look phenomenal and the only thing we couldn’t change was the look from her eye (sad & tired) but this also add a lot of feelings to the photos.
I am talking about this – almost one year ago, last november. It’s been one year and it feels like it’s been forever, but in same time I remember everything like yesterday. This was one of the photoshoots I will remember forever. On scene was only me, Carlos (the hair stylist and makeup artist from San Pedro) and Shelley, a really good friend!
1 year later… I really wanted to see how her life changed after she completed all her chemo sessions, after mastectomy and now step by step she’s getting back to life. Some things will never be the same, but she is strong, she’s adjusting to her new life and for sure is a fighter.
We had our photoshoot capturing just regular moments from a life changing experience: a day from her life now. Her main focus is her family, lovely daughter Salima & her husband, Dean Barrow, who happen to be Belize prime minister. Before this photoshoot I told her “I’m dying to know how is a regular day from your life now!”
I was “invisible” for them… I told them “just do whatever you do usually”.. so, we went to the fruit stand, Salima’s favourite Pina Colada from the entire world is at Old Belize, an amazing location near Belize City and we return back at the house where Salima had to finish her homework.
Almost when we were done, Mr. Dean came and when they spent rest of the time together, I ask the permission to snap 2 photos and I left… Salima was very happy to see him and ask him to help her with her school project. While I was photographing… I had the feeling of a united family, a family that spent time together as much they can and Kim is definitely looking forward for the future to see her little girl growing and teach her that family is the most important we have in our life.
Kim is dedicated a lot from her time, educating everyone about Breast Cancer – early detection & performing self breast examinations.
Kim, thank you for let me capture a day from your life.