While undergoing treatment for recurrent cancer, fourth-grade student Adelaide Flint entered her moving self-portrait “Stronger” into the PTA Reflections contest. Her mom, Stacey Flint, says Addy has taken a challenging situation and made something awesome. Not only did she win first place in Northern Virginia and in the state, she won the National Award of Merit — a dazzling national third place. Addy continues to encourage other cancer patients through her love of photography. She finds inspiration in the music of Katy Perry whom she met, and even had the opportunity to record her own version of Perry’s hit-single “Roar.”
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Stacey: The category for this year’s Reflections contest is within reach. How did you think about the picture that you wanted to create.
Adelaide: Um, I just kinda thought about it because, I kinda was like … I knew I had kinda of a hard year, and I just kinda felt like I knew that there’s a better future, uh, in reach, so.
Stacey: So the picture you took of yourself was a, was a self portrait of yourself looking in the mirror, and you were, as you were saying, you thought that, that represented the fact that your future was within reach. Because you had had a hard year, um, you were re-diagnosed with cancer again in June, and so by October you were well into, kind of the treatment phase of chemotherapy and radiation.
And, can – you chose, um, to do the self portrait in the mirror, um, what made you think of, doing a picture in the mirror?
Adelaide: Uh, I just kinda did it in the mirror because it made me think about like, if my – if I was looking at myself in the mirror … I kinda thought of it as like a magic mirror, and if I looked in it, it would like show my future, and just like a different way of like … Yeah just my future self.
Adelaide: Like –
Stacey: How did you pick what things would be in the picture?
Adelaide: Uh, I picked my bear because he’s a … just kinda special to me, he’s been through every thing with me. And so I kinda just felt like he’s like really close to me and, yeah.
I did it on a camera stand, and then just propped the camera up and I put on a timer, and I clicked the button and then I ran back to my space.
Stacey: I bet it was pretty funny, because when you’re running back to the space, it was really hard not to laugh –
Stacey: … yeah I was laughing, I was watching you do it. I was laughing and thinking, oh that’s really hard, because you then try to be really serious as you were looking in the mirror again –
Adelaide: Yeah, (laughter), it’s really funny.
Stacey: It’s really hard to be serious when you’ve just taken, you know, run across and set back down, right?
Stacey: That was pretty funny.
You’re clinic, where you’re having your cancer treatment also asked you to submit some photos for an art show?
Adelaide: I kinda wanted to do, uh like, the courage of people in the clinic, so I kinda just took pictures of them and how different everybody is. And how different everybody can be, yeah.
Stacey: Do you feel like your Reflection contest showed that in yourself; fear, courage, and how different you are, and what you’ve overcome?
Adelaide: Yeah, it, uh, means a lot to me and the way I say in my folder, I feel like it’s very expressive.
Stacey: It’s really neat that, you took a challenge that you were having when you were trying to, uh, kind of handle and deal with your cancer treatments, and you took that and turned it into something pretty awesome and amazing, right?
Stacey: Yeah, I think it was really fun. This year, you submitted to the Reflections contest before, but this year was a little bit different because you weren’t in school a lot this year. And it was a way that tied you back to school when you were in treatment, and it was something super fun to follow and be able to be excited about and look forward to, right? And then, it was really neat that you were finally back in school full time, and that’s when you finally realized and heard about the end result of your Reflections contest, getting an award of merit at the national level, right?
Adelaide: When they announced it at school, I kinda just, kinda got a little shy (laughter) for a minute, because everybody was staring at me and clapping –
Stacey: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Adelaide: … it kind of made me a little nervous (laughter).
Stacey: It made you nervous?
Stacey: Was it exciting?
Adelaide: It was a very exciting experience … but it was kind of a bit scary.
Stacey: Kind of a bit scary (laughter)? I think all your friends were proud of you, right?
Stacey: They all know you love photography, and that you’ve been through a lot this year. I think they’re all very happy for you.