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A local child is being featured in a photo documentary at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville.
Ashley Long, the 9-year-old daughter of Todd and Linda Long of Hodgenville, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in November 2009.
She and her family were interviewed for the photo project “Redefining Normal” almost a year ago. Fifteen other children from Kentucky and southern Indiana are featured.
Ashley has had numerous treatments, including a bone marrow transplant from her brother Austin in March 2010. She was doing well until she relapsed last January.
She received a second transplant from an anonymous donor in August and had a lengthy stay at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
“She is one of the toughest kids I know,” said her mother. “She was in the hospital for seven months due to chemo treatments and infections …. She amazes me every day with her strength. One of her many strengths is that she busies herself daily with arts and crafts. It seems to help time pass for her.”
Ashley has received a lot of support from friends at Hodgenville Elementary School and throughout the community. But there have been low times as well.
“Redefining Normal,” attempts to show the highs and lows of pediatric cancer patients.
Photographer Paige Greene is a survivor of acute myeloid leukemia and former patient at Kosair. Her purpose is to “provide honest photographs of what it’s like to have cancer as a child.
“Through these photos, I aim to show these children as they are, simply kids who just happen to be sick. I want people to see how normal these kids are instead being afraid to look at them or talk about it. Kids are more resilient than we think, and I hope you can see the good in that.”
The children “represent a small fraction of the 85 children diagnosed with cancer at Kosair Children’s Hospital in 2010. Although these children may have different types of cancer and received different treatments, they share a common bond – being kids and having cancer,” she added.
Linda Long said her daughter hasn’t made a wish list for Christmas this year.
“She’d just like to get better and ‘be normal,’” she said.
“Redefining Normal” will be available Dec. 2 to Jan. 14 at Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 715 W. Main St., Louisville. Admission is $12 per family (two adults and all children); $6 for adults; and $5 for seniors.
The opening reception is 5-9 p.m. Dec. 2. No charge to attend reception or on Jan. 6.
For more information, visit www.kentuckyarts.org.