You might hear about a child with Cancer and think of all the negative things that are associated with that thought. But don’t try telling those things to 5-year-old Arianna Taft, she is a powerful princess.
Ryan Taft, his girlfriend Taylor Seaboyer, and his daughter Arianna, have been going through the fight together since Arianna was diagnosed earlier this year. Chemotherapy has caused Arianna to lose her hair, but rather than let her face it alone, her Dad and Taylor shaved their heads in solidarity; “Taylor was actually the first one,” Ryan explains. “And Ariana got to cut her hair and do all of that, and she loved the process.”
It wasn’t until they met Ashley Richer that they got to see what Arianna could really do. Ashley is a photographer whose life was touched by cancer when her Son’s best friend died at a very young age. “She lost her battle right before she turned two. And after that, I just knew I had to do something like, what can I do to help these kids when they’re sick?” she recalls. “I decided to do what I know best, which is creating magic from a camera.”
It was in 2017 that the loss happened, and she decided to put her idea into practice in 2018, and the resulting feeling of helping was a turning point for Ashley. “It wasn’t until I started doing these sessions that realized that this was exactly what I was meant to do,” Richer adds. “Just make other people’s lives better by something so simple as taking a photo and then just being creative with it.”
It was a client of Ashely’s that directed her to the Taft family and once she heard their story she signed on to help them as she knew best. She spoke with Ryan about what princesses were Arianna’s favourites then picked up all the outfits and set up the green screen for the shoot.
Arianna got to step into her imagination and explore what it felt like to be her favourite Disney princesses for a little while. She got to be Snow White, Belle, Merida, and even Elsa; whirling and twirling and learning about her powers.
Ryan Taft says that being able to watch his daughter Arianna dress up as her favorite Disney princesses for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot was unlike any experience he’s witnessed as a father. “To see her dressed as her favorite magical princess and all the other ones is just incredible,” he said. “I look at the photos and I know it’s Ari, I know it’s my daughter, but it literally looks like she could be starring in her own movie, which is just super special and amazing.”
Though Arianna was initially shy, her family says the “silly, happy” girl was a natural in front of the camera. “Instantly like she was a model, like having so much fun, smiling the entire time,” Seaboyer says of the shoot.
The moment was equally as memorable for Richer, who notes how Arianna will forever hold a special place in her heart. “She is just the sweetest little thing,” Richer shares. “She is now a friend for me for life. She’s awesome.”
As Arianna works towards finishing her chemotherapy, Ryan says his daughter is the epitome of strength as she uses this moment to send an important message to little girls around the world. “You hear cancer and you think all the bad things that are associated with it, but… she hasn’t allowed a single day to be difficult,” he explains. “You can’t look at her and see what she’s going through and not feed off of that strength.” Which is why Arianna is your Good News Story of the Day, which you can find in full here.
“To see her do something that’s really like a once-in-a-lifetime experience just puts into perspective to enjoy all the little things, but also the big things, and to really focus on the positive,” Ryan adds. “She’s just representative of bald is beautiful and bald can be a Disney princess, and she’s loving on every minute of it.”
Story and Image by People.