This family continues to find their smiles, just like he wanted.

Last fall, I had the privilege of meeting Doug and his wife Jen, photographing their amazing family, and playing a part of Doug’s moving, inspiring story. It was my honor to photograph the family as a whole for one of the last times - Doug faced terminal cancer that would cause his passing a short time later. Their photo gallery visualized the bittersweet grief in losing so great a person too early. Yet, the same photo gallery proved Doug’s relentless optimism and positive outlook on life, which radiated in his and Jen’s kids through their smiles and characters.

I recently met up with this family again to capture a remarkable time for Jen and her six sprouting children. Look how much they have grown in only a year’s time! It is evident that these kids have a striking confidence, honest smiles from their hearts, and unbreakable bonds to their siblings and iron-strong mother.

I am thrilled to report that those kids are blossoming at exponential rates, and that Jen continues to lay the foundations to a bright future. And with tremendous support from their mom, their church, and Doug’s unforgettable memory, I have no doubt each family member will grow into an influential and uplifting individual.

Parents find so much pride in seeing their children grow, especially under different or sometimes difficult circumstances. Doug, they are all doing great.Jen, it is heartwarming and inspiring to see the phenomenal job you are doing with these amazing kids. I can’t wait to check back in on this inspiring story next time they visit San Diego. Until then, follow this family’s lead, and “choose to smile.”

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