It all started with a few sketches, a camera, a love for fashion, and a little girl with big dreams in heaven...
If you've followed my story you know that I love fashion and I love to take pictures. Ever since I've received my camera from Garth Brooks, that passion for photography has grown and so has my love for fashion. So let me take you back a little...
While I was in the hospital during my transplant, I was introduced to an incredible program called the Melodic Caring Project. They live stream concerts to patients all over the world to their hospital room or home and make them feel like the rock star. They came on at a time when I needed it most. I was so sick, and losing hope...but hearing Jason Mraz shout my name out lifted my spirits. Since then, I've listened to a ton of live concerts, and they truly make me feel like a "rock star". Music is so so healing.
I've become very close to Stephanie and Levi Ware, who created this amazing program. My mom and I were invited to Seattle to speak at their Gala in March. My older brother, Zack, got to come along so it was really special to have him there with me. It was everything beautiful and amazing as expected. Before hand, Levi's cousin, Michael came to film my story down here in AZ. He came to my ECP appointments, and really got to know me. Michael, and his girlfriend, Trisha, really connected on a personal level with me, and I had the best time. He came to know of my love of fashion and knew that I loved like LOVED Kate Spade. Michael had contacted them (Kate Spade) and had them send me a couple of gorgeous dresses for the gala that night. I was blown away. I got to wear one of them that night, and I felt so beautiful. Later that night, while I was on stage speaking, a video came on of Michael's cousin, Daniel, at the Kate Spade store in New York. He had found out that my family was going to New York in April and wanted to make the surprise even bigger. I was getting to go to the Kate Spade store in New York, have my own stylist and pick out my own bag and dresses!! Ummm, a girls dream right??
Fast forward to this past week. We headed to Philly for my sister Hattie's volleyball tournament for a few days. The trees were all in bloom, and it was just so beautiful. On Sunday, we headed up to New York. I had no idea what I was in for. When we got to the hotel, we were unloading our luggage and my back was turned. Suddenly, I hear cheering and see my siblings and my mom smiling so I turn. I see a big camera with lights and Michael, Trisha, Daniel, and two beautiful girls holding a sign saying "Welcome to New York McKindree!" I couldn't even believe it!
I've literally never been so surprised in my life!! I had noo idea that they were going to be there. Later that night, we all went to Times Square and filmed and danced in the street. It was an adventure as we walked into the Fossil store and Daniel's handsome face was on every wall. He's so humble and kind, but he really is a big deal. (model status) I felt like a rock star for sure. It was the most fun night.
That evening, they gave me a letter to meet them at 8am so that we could go to Central Park for a little to film, then at 10 we would head over to Kate Spade. Ahhh!!!! The Kate Spade store was like my heaven on earth. I got to go up to the Madison Avenue Collection room where they had Macaroons and drinks for us up there, along with special dresses and clothes they only have in that room. There also was a letter sitting on the table. I opened the letter, and it was from the one and only Deborah Lloyd (Kate Spade owner)! Like whattt!? That doesn't happen! How could the day get any better? Well it did.
My personal stylists took me all around the store and let me pick out anything to try on. I had a little fashion show for the whole crew. It was beyond fun. I ended up with two incredibly gorgeous dresses, a pair of shoes, and a bag.
While there, I got another letter with the second surprise of the day. It said I would be meeting the one and only Daymion Mardel, who is a fantastic fashion photographer in NY. He shoots for Vogue, Gap, Lands End, Nautica and a ton of others all around the world . I was so honored.
When I met him, he told me before our interview that I had to get "glammed" up. lol! So I got to get my hair and makeup done. Ish Makeup presented me with an amazing box of new makeup products! WOW! This was so fun for me. After, Daymion and I had our interview, and he had another-YES another- surprise for me. I would be the fashion photographer for the day. So exciting, right? Learning from him...with his entire crew...on a "real set"!
A little while ago, I had sketched some designs of my own and sent them to Michael and Danny because they wanted to see them. While I was behind the camera at the shoot, Giselle, who is a fashion model and who had been hanging with us the past few days, walked out in one of my outfits. THE ONE I DESIGNED!!!! I literally started to cry. I would be the one to photograph my own design! No words. As Daymion is helping me direct the shoot, he tells me there's ANOTHER surprise. So, an amazing designer walks out with another one of my designs. She had created both of my designs by just looking at them. I was just speechless. It was so incredible to see them just come to life.
I also am currently working on another project with Comfy Cozy For Chemo with Lorraine Tallman. I'm helping with a teen line so that teens can wear the tee shirts and still feel comfortable and fashionable while having dignity at the same time. This was the next surprise. I look over and Lorraine comes out with a few of our new teen line designs. I had NO clue she was in New York. I was shocked!! This day just kept getting crazier and crazier! I couldn't believe what Micheal, Trisha, and Danny had pulled off. Oh and my tee shirt designs for the Melodic Caring Project were brought out too. THANK YOU Melodic Caring Project for your vision! Hattie and Jace got to wear my t-shirt designs in the photo shoot as well. We had a great time together!
It was a fun-filled day with surprise after surprise, and I just couldn't believe everything they all did for me. There is so much good in this world. I'm still processing everything, and I'm so thankful my family was there to experience it with me and be a part of it. I can't wait to see the video Michael puts together.
The next night we went to Wicked, thanks to Daymion, and had the best time as a family. It's my all time favorite show and seeing it on Broadway makes it that much better. Before entering the show, Pamela presented me with my own photo book with polaroid photos she had been taking during the amazing surprises. It is a treasured gift!
I can't thank everyone involved enough for this experience. Thank you Michael, Trisha, Daniel, Daymion, Lorraine, Kate Spade NY, Giselle, Pamela, Melodic Caring Project, Levi and Stephanie, Comfy Cozy's, Jinglin, Hudson Studios and everyone else who helped! I couldn't be more thankful. I'll post the video when I get it.
PS. I don't post this to brag about my experiences, but to remember and for myself. It was an amazing experience for me that I'll always remember. It has allowed me to think towards the future...to see the possibilities...and to know that I CAN find joy in my passions. My heart is full!