One little girl who has been battling an aggressive form of kidney cancer was able to step out of reality into a dreamy Disney Princess-inspired photo shoot. She might be dressed as Elsa from Frozen or Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but this five-year-old’s name is Arianna. She’s 5-years-old and received the photo shoot from a local photographer in Rhode Island named Ashley Richer.
“It really is one of the big bright spots throughout her treatment process,” Ryan Taft, Arianna’s father told People.
For Taft, seeing Arianna dress up as her favorite Disney princesses for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot was unlike any experience he’s witnessed as a father.
“To see her dressed as her favorite magical princess and all the other ones is just incredible,” he told People (the TV Show!). “I look at the photos and I know it’s Ari, I know it’s my daughter, but it literally looks like she could be starring in her own movie, which is just super special and amazing.”
These incredible and magical photos of Arianna in fantasyland are not new to Richer, the photographer, who has been staging photos for children with cancer since 2018. The best part? She donates her time and skills to make any child’s dreams come true.
Richer explained the idea first came to her after her son’s best friend Lia passed away from the disease in 2017.
“She lost her battle right before she turned two. And after that, I just knew I had to do something like, what can I do to help these kids when they’re sick?” she recalled. “I decided to do what I know best, which is creating magic from a camera.”
“It wasn’t until I started doing these sessions that realized that this was exactly what I was meant to do,” Richer explained. “Just make other people’s lives better by something so simple as taking a photo and then just being creative with it.”
According to the photographer, a client told her about Arianna and her situation. After learning that Arianna had an advanced form of kidney cancer, she decided to reach out to Taft to set it up.
“She had a 13-centimeter tumor on her kidney,” Taft told People of his daughter’s journey. “They removed the tumor and the kidney, and the surgery was a success, but she still had cancer on her other kidney, her lungs, her liver, her lymph nodes.”
While enduring chemotherapy and radiation, Arianna began to lose her hair. To encourage his daughter, Ryan and his girlfriend, Taylor Seaboyer, shaved their heads in solidarity.
“Taylor was actually the first one,” Taft admitted to People. “And Ariana got to cut her hair and do all of that, and she loved the process.”
By using a green screen, Richer was able to transform the photos into mystical landscapes and fairytale motifs. Coupled with the adorable princess costumes and Arianna’s star power, the photos look as if they’re stills from a real Disney film.
Although she was a touch apprehensive at first, Richer made Arianna feel comfortable, and soon enough, the “silly, happy” little girl was ready for the camera.
“Instantly like she was a model, like having so much fun, smiling the entire time,” Seaboyer said of the shoot.
“She just looks like Elsa, when she gets her magic powers and she’s just conjuring up a storm,” Taft said. “That is everything that Arianna’s embodied since that movie came out.”
“I know we’ve been smiling nonstop since she got to go down there,” Arianna’s dad proudly continued. “It really is one of the big bright spots throughout her treatment process.”
The experience touched Richer and she said she’d never forget taking the photos and then bringing them to life.
“She is just the sweetest little thing,” Richer shared. “She is now a friend for me for life. She’s awesome.”
As Arianna finishes her latest round of chemotherapy, she has become an inspiration for her father. He hopes she’ll also be an inspiration for little girls everywhere.
“You hear cancer and you think all the bad things that are associated with it, but… she hasn’t allowed a single day to be difficult,” he explained. “You can’t look at her and see what she’s going through and not feed off of that strength.”
“To see her do something that’s really like a once-in-a-lifetime experience just puts into perspective to enjoy all the little things, but also the big things, and to really focus on the positive,” he continued. “She’s just representative of bald is beautiful and bald can be a Disney princess, and she’s loving on every minute of it.”
We absolutely love that! Arianna is a little princess and we are certainly rooting for her and wishing her well. If you are able, visit the GoFundMe page for Arianna and help her and her family with a donation.
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