Young cancer survivors recreate viral photo 3 years later

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Photos courtesy of Scantling Photography 

An Oklahoma photographer is spreading awareness about childhood cancer by sharing beautiful images of three young fighters. 

In 2014, Lora Scantling decided to work on a special project featuring three little girls fighting cancer. At the time, her stepdad was dying of cancer and her friend's son had passed away from the disease. 

"I just wanted to do something that would inspire and bring emotion, and would speak a thousand words in a single portrait," Scantling told FOX 5's Katie Muse. 

She took to Facebook and asked if anyone knew of little girls battling the awful disease and was put in touch with Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley. They didn't know each other, but would soon become great friends. 

"They walked in and saw each other and knew they were all in this together," Scantling recalled. "It was amazing to see." 

Rylie was just 3-years-old and battling kidney cancer. Ainsley, 4, was fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and Rheann was 6-years-old, battling a form of brain cancer. 

"Rheann was in the worst shape," Scantling told FOX 5. "She was still extremely sick and her future was very unknown at the first session." 

Scantling took a photo of the girls hugging each other, and the image quickly went viral. It was shared three years ago, with the message, "Sometimes strength comes in knowing that you are not alone!" 

Rylie, now 6, Rheann, 9, and Ainsley, 7, are all cancer-free and have reunited every year with Scantling to recreate their viral portrait. This year's photo was shared on Facebook Tuesday.

"We plan on doing it every year as long as the girls and the world want us to," Scantling said. "They are part of my extended family!" 

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Scantling said each year the girls seem more energetic. 

"You can just tell how much better they feel." 

All three girls are doing well, according to Scantling, but Rheann still has side effects from the chemotherapy, such as low growth, kidney failure and low muscle tone. 

Scantling has two girls of her own, 10-year-old Kennedy and 7-year-old Camdyn. Kennedy has autism, and Camdyn has a mild form Tourette syndrome. 

"They both understand what it's like to be a little different and what it's like to struggle with something," Scantling said. "I love having my girls at these types of shoots with me because it's really good for them to see how giving back is so important, and it has really helped them become even more compassionate! They love being a part of it!"

Scantling said the adorable dresses Rylie, Rheann and Ainsley wear each year are donated from Penelope's Children's Boutique in Oklahoma City. 

Photos courtesy of Scantling Photography

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