Fall River Photographer, Swansea Entertainer Unite to Offer Free Experience to Children With Cancer
Pediatric cancer is a traumatic and devastating experience for a child and their families, and two women have come together to provide special moments for sick children to ease the burden for a brief moment and allow the kids to just be kids.
Megan Rego is a photographer from Fall River. Last year, she lost her four-year-old cousin Maddox to brain cancer.
“It was really sudden,” Rego said. “We thought everything was handled, but a secondary cancer came out of nowhere. Within a week, we lost him."
“He was only four, but he was such an old soul,” she said. “He was truly such a good person.”
The week before she and her family received the news, Rego woke up with an epiphany.
“I need to get him a Power Ranger visit,” said Rego, knowing that was her cousin’s favorite character. “I’ve never done anything like that, but something told me to call these places to get a Power Ranger, I brought along my camera, and that was one of the last times I saw him.”
It was as if intuition was speaking to Rego to create a special moment for Maddox and his family.
Fast forward to Easter of 2021, when Rego’s cousin, Maddox's mom, ordered an Easter Bunny character from A Piece of Cake Parties in Swansea. Karen Whitener, the owner, arrived and was introduced to Megan. Then, Whitener had a moment of intuition herself.
Whitener considers herself spiritual and could not help but feel a sadness amongst the party that day.
“I could feel the happiness, but I felt a strange sadness when I was there,” Whitener said. “I looked over and saw a canvas photo of Maddox in his Power Rangers costume. I just knew he was no longer with us.”
Whitener explained how she could not get the thought of Maddox out of her head after that day.
“I thought about him for days,” she said. That’s when she decided to reach out to Rego.
“I messaged her on Facebook, and I said, ‘This is so random, and I know you don’t really know me, but how would you feel about partnering up to offer free photo sessions to children with cancer and their favorite character?’ She was immediately in," Whitener said.
Within 24 hours, the women had created the Maddox Ranger Project. Families suffering with pediatric cancer are encouraged to fill out an application online for a completely free experience, where the child’s favorite character stops by, courtesy of Whitener’s business, and Rego documents the entire thing.
“They get as many photos as I can take,” Rego said. “I try to make a video as well.”
Since starting their project in June of this year, they have gifted this experience to two children. One little boy named Finn got a visit from Elmo, and one little girl named Madyson received a visit from Wonder Woman and Batman.
“I just feel (Maddox) when I do these things,” Rego said. “I’m not crying when I do these things, I’m so in the moment, and I feel close to him.”
Whitener and Rego hope to gift these experiences to as many families as they can to bring a spark of joy during difficult times. In the midst of darkness, these women aim to shine brighter days on those who need it most.