The Stanchfield Homecoming: A Show Of Strength

While looking over this past year of homecomings and military sessions, one stands out to me. Partly because of the story of how often this particular sailor is away from his family but also because of the family strength which is shown by his wife, Sarah. Sarah is one of the strongest mamas I know. Watching her story as a Navy wife unfold into mama of two was incredible. I knew I was blessed to capture her story because of the way she handles anything thrown at her.

She is someone who rarely takes a breath for herself, but rather puts all her energy into making sure those around her, even strangers, get to be a part of the things that matter in life. From a leader in a women’s prayer group, to super mom, to a runner (now marathoner) and beyond, Sarah considers everyone she comes across “Ohana” and treats them as such. Handling a hectic schedule can be rough on some, for this woman, it is just the tip of the iceberg.


Rain was in the forecast. An anxious toddler was asking a multitude of questions. The 72-day old baby needed to be fed and fed again. Then add in just walking to the pier; there was a stroller to be pushed, signs to be carried, the cake for the homecoming party also in hand. Cherry on top? Inclement weather rolled in. Homecoming day was here.

It had been 180 days without her sailor at home and the amount of time this mama was required to stand in the rain, with a toddler and a newborn, awaiting his departure from the vessel would be considered overwhelming… for some. Sarah put her excitement in the drivers seat and let the rest of the noise fade away. Her calm and cool character allowed me to capture the best of moments, even in a downpour, with her babies in her loving arms.

No duty went undone or poorly carried out. With a smile on her face and every detail done, Keegan, baby Ryleigh and Sarah were able to watch Ryan step off the ship with great pride.

Thank you for your service, Stanchfield Family! You all are a blessing to this country and also to the men and women who stand with you. May your 2018 bring many blessings.

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I have had the opportunity to work in the awareness industry. As an employee with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I was honored to meet those who were fighting and had survived their cancer and cancer treatments. In my personal life I have met some incredibly strong people who have survived their cancer and cancer treatments, as well.

Each month, there is an awareness effort for something which is effecting thousands. In the month of October, as I am sure you know, Breast Cancer was at the top of everyone’s minds. I believe that the stories of the survivors and their family members are vital to moving forward with the efforts to raise awareness. Learning from other’s experiences is how we avoid duplicating mistakes previously made and help each other in the struggle. This means that even though we left the month of October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we shouldn’t stop spreading the word or being vigilant on self exams.

Early detection is KEY


Kyla is the daughter to a survivor of Breast Cancer and has had a close call, herself. Her story greatly parallels to this idea of learning from another. Her mother is also a Breast Cancer Survivor and Kyla was diagnosed at the young age of 16 after doing a self-exam. At the age of 20, she had a Bilateral Mastectomy and Reconstructive Surgery. By the time Kyla had the surgery, she had a total of 10 lumps which consumed most of her tissue. During the surgery, the doctor’s found 2 extra lumps they didn’t know were there and those looked precancerous. Since her surgery, she is now on her 3rd reconstruction and has dealt with over a dozen needle biopsies, ultrasounds and mammograms. They have taken all of the breast tissue from her and a total of 13 lumps have been removed throughout these surgeries.

Kyla is an avid runner and this year I was honored to run the Susan G Komen Race For The Cure by her side (although she quickly out – ran me). She runs for her mother and states, “I run for her strength, courage, fight and for all the other men and women who are survivors, still fighting, or those who we have horribly lost to this deadly disease. It was the most challenging time my family has ever been through. Watching a loved one in so much pain every day is something I’d never wish on anyone or anything.”

Wearing pink to be cute, or a bra to direct attention toward yourself is not the type of awareness many survivors and families appreciate. It is the prayers, fundraising and sharing of stories which will save people from experiencing the horror cancer brings. If you talk to any survivors or their family members, there are a few things they will all agree on:

  • Early detection is KEY and the best way to be aware is a yearly mammogram and self-examination.
  • Even after surviving all the pain, the fight never stops.
  • Spreading awareness will help someone.

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Breast Cancer Awareness 5k with the Pearl Harbor Stroller Warriors