cancer survivor

A Celebration of Phenomenal Women | Peggy, 2019


I think what made me the most excited to have Peggy in for a photoshoot was simply the story of her life thus far. She is the owner and founder of Ballet Petit, but she is a teacher and long-time investor of children who love the art of dance, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother, she is a cancer survivor, she is a woman whose smile, humor, and warm conversation make you feel like you’re talking to a long-time friend even after a few minutes of meeting her.

Peggy had never done a photoshoot like this before and as with most women, had some hesitations to step out in front of my camera. However, that did not stop her because in a very real way, this photoshoot was more than taking a few photographs - it was celebrating her journey with life on so many deeper levels.

I beyond honored to share with you all a few images from Peggy’s photoshoot, a behind the scenes video glimpse below, and most of all, a little bit about her through her own voice.

Here’s to the celebration and journey of life, both the peaks and valleys, and being able to see a deeper beauty through all the seasons.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Styling | Kalani Brown

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0896.jpg

“About three years ago, I went to yet another doctor’s appointment to try and control my asthma. After a chest X-ray, and several more follow up appointments, it was determined that asthma was not the issue after all - I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage 2B, with some extra symptoms.

It was a huge shock. I was told, due to concerns for my immune system during treatment, I was not permitted to teach school during my treatment, but was encouraged to teach ballet and take my ballet classes each week, for as long as I was able. It was a scary time. Less than a month later I started 6 months of chemotherapy every 2 weeks, followed by weeks of daily radiation treatments.

I decided the day I was diagnosed that I would do my very best to keep dancing, knowing that it would help my survival physically, as well as emotionally. I wanted to be strong for myself, and to set a good example for my students of the power and strength that comes from doing what you love. “

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0897.jpg

“I kept my focus positive, accepted the help and love of my community, and happily kept dancing all the way through my cancer treatment year. I didn’t give up.  I made it and I am proud of that!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0901.jpg

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“I was a pretty strong-willed and ambitious 18 year old. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I could make just about anything happen or not happen.

I would tell my 18 year old self, “You may think you can control your life, but you can’t. Life happens. You can, however, have some control over how you handle what comes your way in life.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0900.jpg

“A beautiful woman lives her life according to her beliefs and the dreams she holds in her heart. Whatever it is that she values, desires, aspires to be or do, wants to achieve, her beauty shows through as she takes the steps necessary to fulfill herself and make her dreams become a reality.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0898.jpg

“Everyone has a place. Everyone has worth. No one is perfect. We all have imperfections.

This reminds us that we are all human. Regardless, we can all try to be our best selves while seeing the best in others. We become our best selves by being honest, open, and aware of ourselves and how we share this planet with others as we navigate through our lives.”

“I have been so fortunate to have lived my life surrounded by wonderful people in my family, my schools, and in the world of the classical arts. The proverb about it taking a village to raise a child rings so strongly for me.

I am grateful for the many people who have been a part of my village from the day I was born to the present day. They have been such an important part of my life story. I have been lucky to have had such a vibrant and supportive village. They have all had some part of who I am today. It has been pretty wonderful, the ups and even the downs. All in all, I am happy with how my life has turned out.”