Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Save the Cherubs" Holiday Cards - We need your photos!

We are selling Save the Cherubs holiday cards this year!!!!

But we need your photos!!!  Grab / order some wings and take your cherubs (or siblings and a photo of your cherub) and go early to visit Santa, see the mall decorations, decorate a tree or a visit a Christmas shop.   Photos needed by November 15th!

A few things...

  • You can order wings at
  • It's best to wear bright clothing to contrast with the wings
  • Photos must be "candid" (no looking straight at the camera) - our campaign is about cherubs in every day life
  • We must have your model paperwork in! Paperwork can be found at

Possible photo opportunities....
  • Decorating a Christmas tree
  • Hanging a wreath
  • Lighting a menorah
  • Caroling
  • Visiting Santa
  • Riding in a holiday train
  • Shopping in the mall (decorating for Christmas)
  • Browsing in a Christmas shop
  • Opening presents
  • Sledding
  • Decorating at the cemetary
The point is to show the holiday spirit through a child's eyes... a cherub's eyes.

ALL cherubs can participate!  Even non-survivors (through their siblings or cousins and by including their photo somewhere in the picture.  A sibling/cousin can wear wings and represent your cherub) and expectant cherubs.

ALL submitted photos will be included and sold through our shop on

Cards will be available to purchase by November 20th!  What a great way to raise CDH awareness!!!!

We also need photos for our Save the Cherubs calendar for November (Thanksgiving, leaves, football or something similar), December, March and April.

Save the Cherubs
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Campaign

Photo Taken By Mandy Sroka Photography -
Cherubs are everywhere.  They are your next door neighbor's new baby.   The little girl on the swingset at the park.   The teenager that sits behind your son in high school geometry class.   The person behind you in the grocery store line.    Their scars are hidden under clothes, their stories a bit sad and taboo to talk about - so the miracles are not seen with the naked eye and you have probably mistaken a cherub for a "normal" person many times.   But they are there; walking miracles with invisible wings.   And missing babies that belong to the grieving parents who you don't see grieve;  your local bank teller, the man who held a door for you at the gas station, the old woman who drove the car in front of you at the stop light this morning.   Cherubs are everywhere.

Unless you have been affected personally by CDH, you probably have never heard of it.   The mission of "Save the Cherubs" is to make Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia a phrase everyone knows how to say and everyone knows what it means.  By raising awareness, we hope to raise research funds to save these babies - Save the Cherubs.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia occurs when the diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing abdominal organs into the chest cavity and preventing lung growth.   Babies born with CDH often endure long hospitalizations and other complications such as pulmonary hypertension, infections, feeding issues, asthma and temporary developmental delay.    Some babies develop worse complications and sadly, 50% of babies born with CDH do not survive.    The cause of CDH is not known.

Cherubs are people who were born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a severe and often fatal birth defect that occurs as often as Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida.  Every 10 minutes a baby is born with CDH - adding up to over half a million babies since 2000.   Yet, CDH is given very little media attention, virtually no research money and until CHERUBS came along in 1995 there was no information and no support for families of babies diagnosed with CDH.   We have no national telethons, no large corporate sponsorships.   We have been struggling for years to bring attention to CDH and now, we are going to do so on a national level.

For 15 years, cherubs have been the awareness symbol of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).   Through this project, families around the world are working with CHERUBS, photographers and the media to raise CDH awareness in a unique and striking photo and marketing campaign, which we hope will take your breath away and make you want to learn more about CDH and how you can help save these children.

CHERUBS - The Association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research, Awareness and Support  was founded in 1995 to give hope and information to families of children affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).    We are a 501(c)III non-profit global CDH organization with members in 38 countries.    Run solely by volunteers and donations, CHERUBS strives to allow families to have free access to information materials, support services, awareness projects and to make a CDH connection with other families going through the same ordeal.  We are just a grassroots organization of families working hard to make a difference and trying to give Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness wings to take flight.

CHERUBS is fighting hard to search for the cause, prevention and best treatments of CDH.   We invite you to help us to help these families and to help Save The Cherubs.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Ribbon

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Save the Cherubs Photoshoot - Oz Kidd-Ward

Many thanks goes out to photographer Martha-Cate Spencer, for taking these gorgeous photos!

The models for this photo shoot are Oz's amazing parents Kendrah Kidd and Chris Ward!

Thank you to Oz for not giving your mom any trouble during the hot photo shoot and thank you Kendrah and Chris for being such good sports and so willing to help other CDH families even while you're in the midst of your own CDH journey!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Save the Cherubs Photoshoot - Sofia Carman

Many thanks goes out to photographer Martha-Cate Spencer, for taking these gorgeous photos!

The models for this photo shoot are cherub Sofia Carman and Cole Fisher, brother to cherub Zoe Fisher.

Thank you to Sofia for wearing the wings and being so adorable!

Save the Cherubs Photoshoot - Zoe Fisher

Many thanks goes out to photographer Martha-Cate Spencer, for taking these gorgeous photos!

The models for this photo shoot are Zoe's family;  Aaron, Erin and Cole Fisher.

Thank you to the Fisher family for allowing us inside their home, for letting us make them cry and most of all... for sharing Zoe.













Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Save the Cherubs & cherub Aaron Younce make the newspaper with the world's first CDH awareness billboard!

We made the paper!  Here is an article posted in the Wilkesboro, NC "The Record"

Local youth on first billboard for CDH campaign

For The Record

Aaron Younce, of North Wilkesboro, is featured on the first ever billboard for the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Association's [CDHA] national awareness campaign, 'Save the Cherubs'. 
And, Wilkes County is the premier site for the billboard presentation.   The electronic sign which rotates images every few seconds, is located on the east bound side of West D Street near Arby's and will remain through June 23.  Billboard space was donated by Lamar Advertising.   Williamson and her husband Craig, members of the Younce family and Severt were on hand as the billboard was first displayed last week.
Younce is depicted on the sign wearing cherub wings, the symbol of 'Save the Cherubs' campaign, which was founded by Dawn Williamson in 1995.   Photos for the campaign were taken by The Record's Missy Severt and are being used on billboards, pamphlets and the CDHA website.
Younce, the son of Carl and Julie Younce, attends Mountain View Elementary School and has lived with the severe disorder since his birth in 1999.  
 "I am so happy to be on the billboard so that lots of people can see it and learn about what CDH is," said Younce.  "I hope it will also help people understand what 'Save the Cherubs' is all about and what it is doing to help others who have it while working to find out why the disorder happens to babies."   
CDH occurs when the diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing the abdominal organs to move into the chest cavity preventing complete and normal lung development and growth.  One in every 2500 babies are born with CDH.
Upon Younce's birth, doctors gave his parents the horrific prognosis that he would not live.  He spent the first three months of his life in the PICU and NICU at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he underwent two major surgeries and numerous other medical procedures to help correct some of the most critical issues.  When his team of specialists determined he had gained enough strength to go home, his family turned their nursery into an in home hospital room equipped with life saving oxygen, heart monitors, suction machines, feeding pumps and pulse oximeter.  For many years, this was the normal everyday life in the home. 
 With continued medical support, family love and God's blessings, Younce gained strength and abilities that enabled him to detach from his highly controlled and monitored lifestyle.  Today he is capable of living without daily oxygen except when he requires extra breathing help during bouts of illness.  However, CDH has left Younce with pulmonary hyperplasia of the left lung, pulmonary hypotension and asthma, making every other illness that he contracts, such as colds or viruses, much more serious and harder to fight.
 CDH, unknown to most, occurs as often as other defects such as Cystic Fibrosis and Spina Bifida.  The goal of the Raleigh based, national CDH CHERUBS non-profit organization is to bring awareness, understanding and hope for families fighting the deadly defect.
 "As a parent of a child with CDH it is so hard to watch your child struggle to just breathe at times," said Aaron's mother Julie. "To sit in the NICU and not know what the next five minutes will hold for your baby is the worst feeling in the world.  Aaron is a little older now and continues to struggle with simple things we so often take for granite like eating and gaining weight. Even with all of his continued problems never one time has he questioned why or why me. He is  going out there and telling anyone and everyone about CDH and cherubs in order to make them aware of the serious disorder in hopes of one day finding a cause and a cure.  Aaron is a hero to me."
 Younce is looking forward to spending lots of time swimming and learning about the art of clay sculpture during his summer break.  He is excited to enter the fourth grade in the fall and see all of his old friends while making new ones at school.
For more information on CDHA and 'Save the Cherubs' visit

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

MCatePhotography photographs 3 CDH Families for Save the Cherubs CDH Awareness Campaign

June 9, 2010

 Save the Cherubs

Monday I drove up to Winston-Salem for a volunteer photo shoot for Save the Cherubs.  Occasionally I scan Craigslist for photography gigs, and I am so glad I happened upon this ad.  Save the Cherubs is a support group raising awareness of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias–or CDH.  CDH is where the diaphram fails to close completely and is left with a hole where organs can invade the chest cavity…causing the lungs to not develop properly.  This is only a tiny bit of information on CDH.  To read more visit their website.
There were 3 photo shoots for the Save the Cherubs ad campaign.  One of little 2 year old Sophia, a survior of CDH.  The second was of Kendrah, pregnant with a cherub on the way.  And the third, remembering Zoe, lost last year to CDH.
Meet Sophia!  You could never tell how sick this little girl was.  She has the energy of 2 kids, and a laugh that could rival a soundbite on a hallmark card.

Cole–brother to Zoe–was such a huge help.  Sophia loved him!

Meet Kendrah!  Her and her husband, Chris, are expecting little Oz in July.  Kendrah was such a trooper with all the poses we were having her do.  She is already such a strong woman, and I know that with Chris by her side, there is nothing she can’t do.

The last shoot was probably the most emotional and raw photoshoot I’ve ever done.  We went over to Erin and Aaron’s (yes they have the same name) house to take pictures in Zoe’s nursery.  Poor little Zoe lost her battle with CDH last October.  Erin is one of the stongest women I’ve ever met.  Despite such a tragic loss, that only happened last year, she still has a spunk about her that says, “I will not be brought down”.  It was truly a blessing meeting her.  It really puts everything in perspective.  My husband and I suffered a miscarriage last fall, and while it was tragic…I’m sure it doesn’t compare to losing a child you knew and held.  Grab the tissues everyone…
Big brother Cole with the cat he gave Zoe.

They had casts made of Zoe’s hands and feet so they would always remember what they looked like.

Such a powerful image.

Outside at Zoe’s garden.

Releasing balloons in memory of Zoe.

Thank you guys so much!  Every single one of you is inspirational.  :)


Thank you Martha Cate!!!!   And thank you to the Kidd-Ward, Fisher and Carman families!!!!!!

For more information on this campaign you can visit  or the campaign blog at