Photographing a miracle

World’s first: photographing a miracle baby

Recently, you may have seen the story of Layla Richards, the girl who was cured of leukaemia with a new experimental treatment, after her parents had been told there was nothing else left to do apart from make her comfortable. It’s such an amazing story. It was a privilege to be able to meet the family and see the results first hand!

Meeting Layla

We arrived at reception and were directed to a small room with a cot, a couple of chairs and a bathroom. It was fairly dark, out of the window behind the cot you could see it was a grey day outside. Layla was sat in her cot. Her mother, Lisa, came to greet us straight away, she seemed happy for us to be there which instantly put us at ease with the situation. There is nothing worse then feeling like you are imposing on a family that are already going through such an ordeal in their personal lives. Layla was sat happily watching children’s television on the small screen positioned above her cot.

After the introductions, Layla’s doctor entered the room, after enquiring how long we would be she offered to sit and wait until we were finished until she attended to Layla and her family, keeping herself busy, sifting through the files she had with her. This made me want to speed things up a little to not make the hospital’s staff day and busier then they were already.

I got my camera out and managed to get Layla’s attention with the help of her mum, but she clearly was not impressed with having a camera pointed at her by a stranger. I tried talking to her and putting her at ease, but she still wasn’t in the mood to smile. I tried many tricks in my book for making kids laugh, but she wasn’t into my humour….

Her mum suddenly had an idea. Her big sister, Reya, was down the hall in the playroom colouring and drawing. She said that only her big sister can make her smile without fail. My colleague went to ask if she would help us out to which she readily agreed. It was clear that she really loved her little sister, and that they had a wonderful and special relationship.

Once we had all seen her drawing and chatted for a bit, she began her mission to make her sister smile. At first she was making noises and faces at Layla, to try and get a giggle, but it wasn’t enough. Layla still wasn’t sure of the situation and kept looking at us. I just kept my eyes on her sister and laughed at her antics. Reya decided to change tactics. She knew she had to do something more energetic. She picked up some clean nappies, and started juggling them the best she could while pretending to fall over. There were nappies flying everywhere! That’s when i spotted a smile starting to crack across Layla’s little face, which soon became a full blown giggle, and I started snapping away.

The result was the one that made it across most major news papers, journals and websites. It showed a child’s love of her sister, her family. The whole situation showed me how much her family love her, how far they were willing to go, just to make her smile. It was a lovely moment. One of the many I will cherish.



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