So Many Angels makes us Proud to be from Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — A quick instruction, a simple green backdrop and a flash of the camera turn into a work of art.

A photo shoot for kids is so much more than meets the eye. It’s giving some special youngsters inspiration that they can be anything they want to be.

“We provide hope, inspiration, and encouragement to kids battling cancer so they can be whoever they want to be when they grow up,” said Matt Meiers, founder and executive director of So Many Angels.

He does that through photography. He and other volunteer photographers take pictures of kids with cancer in whatever costume or profession they want to be, like a superhero, a princess, an astronaut or a dancer. Then, editors volunteer their time to create a one-of-a-kind canvass for them. So Many Angels gives it to the families for free.

“I couldn’t speak. It’s so pretty,” said Mimi Schmidt, the mother of a girl photographed. “Her face-she lights up. It’s amazing.”

Her daughter Lexi said, “It was really exciting. I just really loved that costume (I wore).”

The photo shoot was especially uplifting because 11-year-old Lexi of Crafton didn’t get to wear that dance costume at her recital this year. She was too weak to perform because she is battling leukemia.

“She’s been through a lot. We’ve had some blood infections, 3 different times,” said Mimi. “She’s missed out on so much.”

Mimi admits Lexi handles it better than she does most days, but the day of the photo shoot was the best day for this mother-daughter duo.

“This was such a special treat that it made her feel like a princess and we didn’t have to think about cancer that day,” said Mimi.

“I was proud of what I could do,” said Lexi.

“What we really want is for these kids to hang their canvasses up in their room so it is the last thing they see before they go to bed and the first thing they see when they wake up,” said Meiers. “We want them to inspire themselves.”

Matt has helped 117 kids across the country do just that. And into the new year, he hopes to photograph more kids here where he’s based, in Pittsburgh.

If you’d like to sign your child up for a photo shoot, check out https://somanyangels.org/.