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Cold Lake photographer spreading gratitude for frontline workers

COLD LAKE – A Cold Lake-based photographer is helping to show appreciation for the men and women on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic.

Susie O’Connor, owner of Images Studios, is among over 900 photographers across the globe that have joined the One for One Gratitude Sessions initiative.

“I think many of us that are at home are feeling a little guilt for being at home, and having these people have to be out on the front lines dealing with this everyday,” she told the Nouvelle.

The initiative was originally launched on April 1 by Anastasia Chomlack, a photographer based in Whistler, BC.

Her goal of engaging 10 fellow photographers to participate in the program was surpassed in the time it took to make a cup of tea after launching it.

“As photographers shared their process, we were able to, almost in real time, create resources everyone needed to participate. It was an amazing collaboration,” Chomlack said in a press release.

While each package is unique to those involved, customers who purchase a portrait session and small wall art from O’Connor can nominate a healthcare worker in the Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and Pierceland area until April 30 to receive the same.

“People will call and book theirs now, and we send a lovely email to the person they nominate to let them know they’ve been gifted this session,” O’Connor said. “They just need to get in touch with me, we’ll put them on the books, and we will sort it out… when it’s safe.”

While O’Connor has the ability to work at home after shutting down her studio, she know there are some who didn’t have that option. She was looking for ways to give back when she came across the One for One Gratitude Session program online.

“We’ve been so diligent on flattening the curve that we’re still holding steady, and it’s not as scary as it is in other places. But, I still feel like for that healthcare professional that has to go to work everyday and then has to come home to their children, I think that, personally, would be a little terrifying.”

One of O'Connor's inspirations for getting involved is a friend's daughter who recently underwent cancer treatment.

“Thank goodness she has the all clear from her doctors, but his wife is a nurse. She worked in a mammogram clinic, and she’s now on the front line testing people for COVID-19 and going back home everyday. For me, that’s why I wanted to show my gratitude,” she expressed.

Firefighters, police officers, nurses, paramedics, peace officers, and doctors are those who can have their names put forward for a free session.

“Those people that have to go into situations that put themselves at high risk,” O’Connor stressed.

Anyone interested can reach out to O’Connor at 780-594-3443.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

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