2022 Calendar of Hope makes dreams come true

Published 8:36 am Thursday, October 28, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Kim Eaton can tell you everything you would want to know about her daughter, Angel. She based the mission of her nonprofit, Angel’s Hope, on her daughter’s strength and determination to help children with childhood cancer.

Angel was 18 years old when she died from Ewing’s sarcoma five years ago, and the idea for the foundation was her idea.

The nonprofit has worked tirelessly since its creation to provide kids and teens like Angel with special moments where they can forget their situation even for a moment. One way the nonprofit has set out to do this, is with their annual Calendar of Hope, which features these children in a fun series of photos.

“When my daughter was going through treatment, she was in this little small tiny calendar, and the whole thing was just fun,” Eaton said. “Angel got so excited when they emailed her that she was going to be in it. She was super happy.”

Eaton said teenage girls in particular suffer from extreme self-esteem issues while fighting their cancer battle.

“Especially when they’re going through treatment, they feel anything but beautiful,” she said. “Their hair is falling out, they’re going through steroids and they get really swollen and so they are bombarded with self-esteem issues.”

After Angel passed away, Eaton found herself talking to more and more families who were going through the same thing she was. Thinking of how happy that tiny calendar had made Angel, she decided she would try to make it a reality for other children.

Eaton said they’ve learned a lot in the years they’ve put out the calendar, and each year has served something special for all involved. Their third year, Eaton wanted to mix things up a bit.

“We started doing themes, and last year we had the theme of ‘superheroes,’” she said. “We had our ‘Superhero Squad,’ and each of the kids got to create their own superhero personas with superpowers and create a nemesis and things like that.”

This year’s theme is “Dreams.” The kids will be asked what their personal dream is and their photo will be designed towards that particular dream.

“We had a lot of young ones this year, and we asked them more what they enjoyed doing for fun or what their favorite things were, and we kind of created a dream based off of that,” Eaton said. “We’ve got a little explorer, farmers, doctors and surgeons.”

The finished product is kept a secret until the parents receive it in the mail, making the project’s big reveal even more special. Not only do parents get the calendar, the photographer sends high-quality copies of all pictures taken of their children, so they will always have multiple mementos from that special photoshoot.

“We really just want to take pictures and show these kids how beautiful they are,” Eaton said. “It doesn’t matter if they don’t have any hair, it doesn’t matter what they look like, they are so beautiful. Usually by the time we get done with the makeup and we get them out there, they start to feel that, and you see their face just light up and they say, ‘Oh my gosh, I really am beautiful.’ I get chills every time.”

Eaton said creating the calendars makes her feel more connected to her daughter.

“It’s so much fun getting to know the families and talk to the kids, and any kid that has their picture submitted, they do end up in the calendar,” she said. “Because I’m not leaving any of the kids out.”

“We are really just trying to show these kids what we already see,” Eaton said. “They don’t see it, but we do, and we just want to show them how special they are.”

The calendars are $25 and all proceeds go to Angel’s Hope. To purchase a calendar visit their website at AngelsHope.org.