Faces of Christmas: Brittany Wilbur and Carrie Anne Miranda

December 24, 2013 

FACES_NECTAR

Photographers Brittany Wilbur of Tulare, left, and Carrie Anne Miranda, right, of Fresno make up the Sweet Nectar Society, a nonprofit organization that provides free photo sessions for children with illnesses or disabilities from families that otherwise couldn't afford the photo sessions.

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The basics: Brittany Wilbur, 27, of Tulare and Carrie Anne Miranda, 31, of Fresno are professional photographers and co-founders of the Sweet Nectar Society, which provides free photo shoots to families with children with serious illnesses or disabilities. The nonprofit organization began in January 2012.

What they do: Wilbur and Miranda provide families with digital images and a leather-bound book of prints.Their mission is to capture the hope, courage and strength of children undergoing treatment for serious illnesses, disabilities and injuries.

After the pictures are given to the families, Wilbur and Miranda also highlight them on the Sweet Nectar Society website and Facebook page to promote awareness.

The women also offer support and comfort to the families through acts of love.

Why they do it: Wilbur and Miranda are both mothers with personal experiences involving family members.

"We've had some personal stories and circumstances that guided us to want to help out in this sort of way," Miranda said.

They want to relieve some of the stress and burdens that families go through with children with serious illnesses and disabilities.

They provide their services free because some needy families don't even have an option to hire professional photographers.

The turning point: After several shoots, Wilbur and Miranda realized they needed to do more than snap photos.

"It's really feeling what kind of life the families are living," Miranda said. "We get to know them."

The women also have led bone-marrow drives and raised awareness about Down syndrome.

The hardest thing is when children die.

"That simple photo is what they hold on to and cherish," Wilbur said.

Details, details: Wilbur and Miranda have held nearly 150 shoots -- nearly three a week. But they aren't doing it alone.

Children's boutiques donate clothing for children to wear at the shoots. Donors chip in with restaurant gift cards for families in need.

What others say: Rozanne Wille of Clovis said Wilbur and Miranda are "two of the kindest women we know."

They held two photo shoots for Wille's son, Hendrix, 3. He had acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a bone-marrow transplant before he died in March 2012.

Wille and the Sweet Nectar Society also have co-founded The Sweet Eats Program, which will provide comfort food for families in a room near the oncology unit at Children's Hospital Central California. The program is scheduled to start in January.

How you can help: Monetary donations, gift cards and nonperishable food items can be given through sweetnectarsociety.org or email, info@sweetnectarsociety.org.

-- Ron Orozco

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