She snaps down the shutter when she sees Nebraska’s majestic sandhill cranes and has a rare opportunity to capture the sharptail grouse’s mating dance on film.
Seventeen-year-old Andrea - diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma during her junior year of high school – spends her time taking pictures for her school’s yearbook and newspaper. While dealing with her life-threatening medical conditions, Andrea dreams of becoming a photographer for National Geographic®.
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore jumped at the chance to help share the power of a wish® and take Andrea - diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma during her junior year of high school – flies to Nebraska for a dream photo shoot. In the past, Sartore had clients who paid thousands of dollars for the chance to participate in a shoot like this, but Andrea and her family are guests.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish® team and its donors and sponsors wanting to give this wish kid some hope, Andrea is off to Nebraska with her new photography supplies.
Andrea and Joel put on their camouflage and crawl out before dawn to capture the Sandhill cranes during a cold morning in Nebraska. They crouch in a tiny 4-by-8 photo blind in the grasslands to shield themselves from the birds’ view. Andrea had her camera lens ready with the perfect shot capturing the birds and their mating dance.
Away from the viewfinder, Andrea and her family relax at a Nebraska cattle ranch known for its beautiful trail rides. There she snaps publication-worthy shots of pigs, horses, turkeys and elk. She even gets to borrow Joel’s $6,000 camera and $15,000 lens.
Andrea and Joel then share a “small world” moment beyond their love of photography. Joel’s grandfather spent his entire career working for a car dealership owned by one of Andrea’s relatives.
“Joel Sartore … taught me a lot about photography and a little about life. I am very thankful to all the people who helped with my wish,” Andrea says in a thank you letter after her trip. "Thanks for the memory!"