On Angels’ Wings, a non-profit organization, provides free, professional photographs and support for children battling a terminal diagnosis or condition that puts them at risk. Services are provided from maternity to 18 years and include children with heart conditions, cancer, genetic disorders, chromosomal defects and even loss at birth.
Since it’s inception in June of 2013, On Angels’ Wings (OAW) has provided over 250 families with priceless memories, with each year doubling the previous year. Currently, services are predominantly provided in Springfield and St. Louis, Missouri, but OAW also has photographers in Joplin, Kansas City, Rolla, Columbia and other rural towns in southern Missouri.
In addition to providing photographs, OAW makes it a top priority to help its recipient families cope with the struggles that come with a child that is sick or the loss of a child. The organization sends birthday gifts to recipient children every year, as well as annual loss memorial gifts to families. We have an annual community-wide carnival that our recipients attend for free each June and a recipient picnic every September.
Nora’s Care, a division of On Angels’ Wings, provides a variety of services on the support side of the organization, including care packets when there is a loss during birth or when the family has an extended stay in the hospital for their child’s care. Nora’s Care also makes angel burial gowns out of donated wedding dresses for recipients to use through The Selah Project. And, in February 2017, On Angels’ Wings recipient support groups will start meeting in person on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Overall, our mission and priority will always be: Celebrating life. Encouraging hope.
You'll find more details on the types of photography sessions we provide below:
Families that face an in-utero diagnosis of a genetic disorder or medical condition of the child may request maternity pictures from On Angels' Wings. The ideal time to do maternity pictures is between the 34th and 36th week of pregnancy, but that will obviously vary depending on individual circumstances. In most cases, proof of in-utero diagnosis is required to schedule a maternity session with OAW (often done with an ultrasound picture, or the paperwork provided from the doctor's office following a routine visit).
We offer urgent/immediate photography services in the cases of a child unexpectedly passing during pregnancy/birth or for any child that spends time in the NICU. We also offer in-hospital sessions for children born with terminal genetic conditions. This may include a labor & delivery session, if the recipient so desires and a photographer is available, but is usually a session with the family in the maternity ward. Recipients must understand that any photo sessions done under these circumstances must first be cleared with hospital staff, especially in the case of a NICU session.
In-Home / Lifestyle
OAW understands that many conditions limit a child's exposure to others and an in-home, lifestyle session is the best option. Our photographers have the technical and photographic experience to make this possible, capturing cherished moments of your family together. It's simply a matter of scheduling a time that works best for the recipient family and the assigned photographer.
In cases of excellent weather and a child whose condition allows for being outdoors, our volunteer photographers are happy to offer outdoor sessions. These sessions are best executed in the early morning hours or 1-2 hours before sunset for optimal lighting conditions. The recipient and assigned photographer can collaborate on the preferred location.
Our services are available to ANY family in our service area that suffers the loss of a child through fetal demise (stillbirth) or is facing the risk of losing a child to a genetic disorder, cancer or terminal disease from pregnancy to the age of 18 years. We provide photographs for these families at no charge (and our photographers all volunteer their time and services). We also provide support by connecting families with others that have endured the same struggles and heartbreak, providing community events like Making Memories Day and our annual recipient picnic, advocating on their behalf for proper medical care, partnering with support groups, and fostering personal relationships. It goes way beyond just providing pictures!
*Services are provided from maternity to 18 years. No request forms or qualifications are required, other than verification of in-utero diagnosis for maternity sessions. When a request comes in, we will verify when the recipient is available for pictures (though we certainly respond immediately to urgent requests for photos) and then pair recipients up with one of our available volunteer photographers for a session that fits their needs. Recipients that may receive multiple sessions will be paired with the same photographer for each session to the best of our ability, in order to maintain consistency, developing a trusting relationship and low-stress experience.
Within two weeks from session date, photographers provide the edited images to OAW and we load them to a password-protected gallery that the recipient family can download all of the image from directly. You will receive an email and phone call when your images are ready to view and download.
Additionally, the OAW Provision of Services and Printing Release must be signed by the parent/guardian of the recipient child and the photographer for each and every session. The photographer will provide that document for you at the session, or you can print from the PDF in the link provided and fill the form out in advance. A fully-executed copy will be attached to the email sent to the recipient family with the link to the image gallery. Photos cannot be sent to recipients until the original release is provided to On Angels' Wings.