A few weeks ago I was asked to photograph an event for Teenage Cancer Trust: the unveiling of a new area within the Royal Liverpool University Hospital for 16-24 years olds with cancer.
When I walked out of the lift onto floor 7 I was greeted by a gaggle of smiling faces, there was a buzz of excitement around the foyer and it wasn't until I stood and listened to Shannon's story that I realised the enormity of what she had done.
Shannon was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma last April when she was 18 and had 6 months of chemotherapy at Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Whilst she was there she felt that there wasn't a place for her and other's going through similar treatment to take their mind off it so with the help of her friends and family has managed to raise over £12,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust and over £10.000 for other charities.
A large part of that money has now gone towards this chill-out zone, which has gone from a clinical room to a place in which young patients and their friends and family can sit, chat, relax, watch TV, play on an Xbox and interact with like-minded people going through the same difficulties.
Shannon is absolutely inspirational, I was completely stunned - by her gorgeous smile, her passion for helping others and giving back to charity which she felt had done so much for her and her ability to light up the room. Every single member of hospital staff that popped their head in to see the room's transformation was over-the-moon to see her. She'd clearly left a huge positive impression on everyone she'd met during her time there and it's not at all hard to see why.
My work really does take me in all kinds of directions but on that particular Wednesday afternoon, when I got back in my car after shooting, I had to take 10 minutes to breathe and comprehend what I had just been involved in. Very often I miss the emotion of a situation as I'm looking through my camera rather than with my eyes, but this really reached and tugged my heart. The world truly is made a more beautiful place with people like Shannon.
You can read more of her story here.