Akron Photo Series


We rode the glass elevator to the third floor and walked into the oncology ward. Children sitting in a glass room with bald heads, sipping on juice and watching cartoons. Their parents thumbed through newspapers or read stories to tired babies as they waited to see the doctor. Some kids wore masks and colored with crayons rubbed to tiny nubs. I stared through the fish tank at them. I didn’t mean to, but I did.

Of course this would be the floor that broke me. The tears stung my eyes and I blinked furiously to avoid a display of pity. Because, really, I didn’t pity them…their strength embarrassed me. Their ability to smile and play and jump made me realize that though I have the entirety of my health, I don’t smile, play, and jump as much as I should. Okay, maybe not the jumping part, but…well…you know.

I had the pleasure of touring Akron Children’s Hospital with Skip Cohen, as part of my trip to Ohio. I spoke at the Akron Photo Series and 25% of the event proceeds were donated to the hospital, so I wanted to see where it was going. And lemme tell you how blown away I was…this place is amazing. I’m incredibly thankful to live in such an amazing country with hospitals dedicated to helping children, regardless of their ability to pay.

Akron Children’s Hospital is creating an Expressive Therapy Center, an entire unit dedicated for patients to pursue art while they’re being cared for. A theater, a music production room, art supplies were being added during our tour. Skip offered his assistance in providing digital cameras and printers to the center I really hope for the best. Sara, our delightful tour guide, was such an amazing person. By the size of my smile in the following picture should let you know just how awesome I felt standing next to her. Clearly.

This is Molly. Skip’s dog…and JD’s newest best friend.

After touring the hospital, we went back to Skip and Sheila’s house so I could practice my presentation and JD decided to relax with Molly…

The presentation in Akron was amazing because from the minute the first people arrived (almost two hours early to boot!) they filled the ballroom with an incredible amount of energy and pizzazz. Do you like that word? I do. It has a lot of z’s.

I’m honored to have spent the evening with such an amazing group of photographers who traveled from as far as Lexington, Kentucky (they won a free Showit website for making that five-hour commute!) and who possess the power and drive to personalize their businesses on the web. I can honestly say this group is ready to flip Ohio upside down and inside out…and I love it.

Happy Thursday!

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  1. Stephanie Lyell

    March 31st, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I am one of the three Lexingtonians and let me just tell everyone reading this post…it was totally worth it! Jasmine, I said it yesterday on your Polo post and I’ll say it again today…it was so wonderful to meet you and JD and hear your speak about what you are so obviously passionate about. It was truly inspirational. On a side note…that dog is rad 🙂

  2. elizabeth

    March 31st, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    A shout out to KY! yay! I’m not a photographer, just a mom who likes to take pictures of her daughter. I admire your work and witty sense of humor!

  3. Kate Douthwright

    March 31st, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    That was so nice of you guys to visit the childrens hospital. I volunteer with make a wish and those kids are so strong. So inspirational to every adult!

  4. Heather Hutmacher

    March 31st, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Sara is such an amazing person! It is nice to see her on your blog 🙂 THANK YOU for coming to Akron and helping the hospital.

  5. Jenelle Sewell

    March 31st, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    This is great, Jasmine! You have such a big heart…He’s smiling down on you right now. =)


    March 31st, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Oh this is awesome! I have family in Akron myself. So great that you guys visited the hospital and proceeds are going to such a wonderful organization! Kids w/ such courage and strength touch my heart in a very special place…I know of a very sweet little angel in heaven now who possessed those amazing traits. Thanks for sharing J…and that dog looks adorable!

  7. Margaret

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    JD told me he was laying on Molly but to actually see the pic really makes me smile. Molly is like a giant version of Polo!!!

  8. Joice Kelly

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    It’s beautiful what they do in Hospitals like this! Simply Beautiful!

  9. Deb Peluso

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    We were SO grateful to have you in Ohio Jasmine, you totally inspired me and so many others! I love that you took the time to talk to everyone, one on one. You are as funny, honest and classy in person as you are on your blog! Next time you should bring Polo!!!

  10. Natalie Tuggle

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    What an amazing story. I want to cry too!

  11. Natalie Tuggle

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Oh! And by the way, you look gorgous!

  12. Michelle Chernock

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you, again, for coming all this way. I know the trip was a whirlwind for both you and JD. My husband, Bob, and I both enjoyed meeting you and JD and the presentation. You were right – it gave us a lot to discuss on the way home. 😉 You were great! I hope we meet again – someday!

  13. Life with Kaishon

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I have always thought Ohio people were some of the coolest ones around! LOVE this : )

  14. Jana Baker

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I cannot tell you how amazed I am by the way you continually give back. Weather it’s just being open and honest and giving advice to up and coming photographers, to sharing your *real* life experiences to helping others in need.
    I am a mother of a cancer survivor. My daughter was 19 months old when she was diagnosed and I know exactly how you felt; walking on that hospital floor and seeing all those brave, amazing children. My daughter was able to gift me with her own personal display of not only courage, but joy. Many times she would want to run her little fisher-price shopping cart up and down the hospital isle and I had to keep up cause she was still attached to her i.v. poll!
    Those moments will never leave me as long as I walk this earth, and I hope that what you took away from your time there never leaves you~

  15. Amy Jo

    March 31st, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    That sounds like a beautiful opportunity. I was just thinking the other day about great organizations I could get involved and support through my photography. It sounds like those children have a strength that I can’t comprehend. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  16. Leah Aubrey

    March 31st, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Children’s Hospital is certainly a place that will step back and realize everything amazing we have in this world! Thanks for coming to Ohio J, it was nice hearing you talk! And talk fast you do!

  17. Emily Burlingame

    March 31st, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks again Jasmine – it was really great meeting you and your energy is contagious.

  18. kelly marie

    March 31st, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    such a great cause!!

  19. Bill Spoonster

    March 31st, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks so much for making a stop in Akron–especially in this weather! Your talk was amazing and you’ve given be so many fantastic ideas to implement.

    A big thank you for shining the spotlight on our wonderful Children’s Hospital–truly a bright spot in this city.

    Good luck with next week’s CreativeLive–I’ll be watching!

  20. jill emerick

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Jasmine, it was so amazing to meet you and JD in person! You both are so warm and friendly. And I had no idea how funny you are girl!!! 🙂 I’m so excited about putting everything you taught us about your journey to use in our journey. Thank you for coming to chilly Ohio to share!

  21. Shawna Schneider

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Jas (can I call you that now, ya know, since we met and all.. :)). I will remember Tuesday night for as long as I live. After years of reading your blog regularly, it was such a pleasure to finally meet you and hear you speak. You have an endless amount of knowledge, love and positive energy! The 3 hours flew by, but the message and motivation will stay with me for a long time to come. Thank you again for coming… and for the donation to such an incredible hospital in our community! xoxo 🙂

  22. Deney

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I love Dog Pillows!! I have two!

  23. kelsey {las vegas wedding photographer}

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Such a great thing for donating to the hospital!

  24. Erin Oveis Brant

    March 31st, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Love this. Even though you don’t have any photos of the children I can see them…and feel their strength. What a great reminder to appreciate our health and give back as much as possible!

  25. Mary Adams

    March 31st, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Jasmine…you may have single handedly saved my photography career. I spoke to you briefly during one of the breaks and was nearly in tears listening to your story…you’ve inspired me to keep fighting the good fight toward realizing my own dreams of being successful in this industry…thank you so much for coming to Akron!

  26. Edric Morales

    March 31st, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I had a really great time listening to your wisdom. You truly are a marketing genius! Right before the presentation a lady told you about meatloaf. You said meatloaf was weird because of ketchup and what not. HINT: have you tried turkey meatloaf with gravy? Just saying:) WORD!!

  27. Sarah Danaher

    March 31st, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I have friends that went to it. SO proud of you, and so grateful that you made that effort to go!

  28. Jennifer Hudspeth

    March 31st, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    "…their strength embarrassed me."

    You could have not worded that better, if you had tried. You always amaze me j*.

  29. Em

    March 31st, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    We were so beyond happy to have come to hear you speak and speak so honestly. What matters most in life is being thankful for all that we do have and you are able to bring it all back to that Jasmine. Beautiful person inside and out!

  30. Shuva Rahim

    March 31st, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Kudos for the charity to the children’s hospital. That’s awesome… and kudos to ohio. If I wasn’t from Iowa, I’d be from Ohio. lived there for 2.5 years and LOVED it… so maybe that makes me (I’m 34) .07 percent Ohioan?

  31. Kristin Nicole

    March 31st, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Fabulous post!

  32. tim king

    March 31st, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Now *that* is awesome. So cool to see you doing stuff like this. We have a lot of options & a lot of ways we can spend our time – really cool to see you giving back. You’re an awesome photographer, but a *truly great* person. Keep on truckin’.

    Excited to see you next week!

  33. Emily Zuercher

    March 31st, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Thank you so much Jasmine and JD for coming to Ohio! I had an awesome night…learned a ton, laughed a ton, and met some great people! (I randomly sat by 2 other Emilys) You mentioned that you want to leave an impression…well, you are leaving an impression alright- A positive, kind, loving impression! Thanks for donating to Akron Children’s, too! That’s awesome!

  34. Briana

    March 31st, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Thank you SO much for taking the time to come visit us in Ohio–you are such an inspiration!

  35. Sonia Schwantes

    April 1st, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Seeing something like that really leaves a lasting impression. My daughter has leukemia for over a year and even now she amazes me with her strength. Now I just have to get her the pink camera she wants because the children’s one "isn’t a real camera" or so she tells me.

  36. brianne howard

    April 1st, 2011 at 2:44 am

    oh you were talking about me 😉 i was the crazy one there 2 hours early lol…i love you jasmine, thank you so much for coming!

  37. Denise Prichett

    April 1st, 2011 at 4:11 am

    This is just another example of how photography can help to change lives. I have had so many wonderful and different experiences because of my camera. Thanks for sharing this!

  38. Mom

    April 1st, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I’m soooooooo happy things went very well for you in Ohio. Great time, great friends!

  39. Sasha Behrens

    April 1st, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Reading your post made me tear up I am a nurse and can’t wait to have the experience in order to transfer to a children’s oncology hospital. I so wish (and because of privacy) you could post the pictures of the children. I can’t wait to see their energy, their fight, their tears, and at the end of a good day a smile. I love photography and hope more people will capture these children’s energy… maybe I will when I get there! Thanks for sharing and being a part of this project

  40. Renee Tucker

    April 1st, 2011 at 7:14 am

    You are such an inspiration!!! I joined your blog just this past weekend and don’t mean to sound creepy but I am obsessed….Thanks for doing what you do!! How awesome that you open your life and talent for others to find inspiration!!

  41. Columbus GA Wedding Photographer

    April 1st, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    What an amazing write up Jasmine. So glad you guys were able to help such an awesome organization!

  42. Shannon Sorensen

    April 1st, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I see you wore sleeves this time, good decision! haha I’m glad you had such a nice trip. I want a doggy pillow! Is that the same as a "Pillow Pet"? 🙂

  43. Samuel Burns Photographer

    April 2nd, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Molly is adorable!!

  44. Krysta

    April 3rd, 2011 at 2:09 am

    The photo of JD laying on Molly is hott. (If I am permitted to call your husband hott. lol. Because Let’s face it. He is.)

  45. ReginaMarie

    April 3rd, 2011 at 5:22 am

    OMG!!!!! In the last picture, the guy all the way on the right, (camera right)… I went to Elementary school with him!!! Hi Brian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Martha Davidson

    April 4th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    LOVE your outfit Jasmine!! You are so stunning!

  47. Misty Dawn

    April 4th, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, and it was so exciting to read this post!

  48. KellieAnn

    April 21st, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I live in North Canton, Ohio and even though I was not able to make it to the Akron Photo Series, I’ve read about it from others on their blogs, twitter, and now you. 🙂 Ohio *is* pretty awesome. It’s wonderful to hear you donated to Akron Children’s, too. 🙂