Local Photographer Tells Cancer Survivor Stories Through "Portraits of Hope"

Published: April 29, 2014

For almost two decades, thousands of supporters have participated in the Walk, Run & Ride, the signature event of Hope in Motion, the year-round fundraising initiative for Stamford Hospital’s Bennett Cancer Center. Through this and other grassroots events held throughout the year, the surrounding communities donate time and money to raise funds for the vital programs and services that benefit cancer patients and their families. This year, Stamford resident and photographer Tim Coffey is creating Portraits of Hope, an extraordinary exhibit that will present the stories of several brave cancer survivors.

With over 10 years and almost 900 hours of volunteer service under his belt, Coffey himself is no stranger to Stamford Hospital. He began his service in the Hospital’s Oncology Unit in 2004, where he spent time emptying hampers, helping patients, restocking items, making deliveries to other departments and simply providing an extra set of hands. He also completed No One Dies Alone Training in 2011 and has sat with terminal patients as a compassionate companion. In recent years, Coffey expanded his volunteer service to include donating his photography for the annual Walk, Run & Ride event held each year in conjunction with National Cancer Survivors Day.

“My mother is a nurse and so I learned early on what it is like to support others in their time of need,” said Coffey. “When I started my own photography business, I knew I wanted to be able to use that inspiration and give back to my community in my own way. It’s quite special to just share somebody’s story, and photography allows me entry into peoples’ lives in a very unique and special way.”

“We are all very grateful for the many years Tim has dedicated to our organization,” said Liz Manfredo, Director, Cancer Service Line, Bennett Cancer Center. “Year after year he has provided us with fabulous photos that really capture the emotion of the day – particularly the energy of Hope in Motion.”

The cancer survivors featured in Portraits of Hope have battled a variety of diagnoses and were each treated at the Bennett Cancer Center. Over the past several weeks, Coffey has met with each to photograph them and learn about their story.

“It’s very courageous of these people to share their stories with the community,” said Coffey. “What I like about this project is that people who read them, don’t have to tell anyone what they thought, but can still take something away from the experience. Hopefully this project will touch people, it will inspire them and give them a little comfort and hope.”

Portraits of Hope will be unveiled on Thursday, May 29, as part of this year’s pre-Walk, Run & Ride festivities, at a to-be-determined downtown Stamford location. Supporters looking for more information or to register for Hope in Motion can contact Kari Pollak at [email protected] or visit www.hopeinmotion.org.

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