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In Honor of Best Friends

They say pain and strength come from the same place. I know now what that means.

Jenny has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. We grew up in Herington, KS where school activities and friends were the only form of entertainment. We walked to each other’s homes by meeting halfway on the railroad tracks, and our families consider each of us their bonus child.

We still meet at my Dad’s several times a year when I go home. I remember one of our last conversations before Jen was diagnosed. As we hugged goodbye, Jen said “I may not live in Kansas next time you’re home. If our home sells fast, we’ll live in a cabin in Cody, Wyoming.”

Jen’s older Brother had recently passed of a rare form of cancer that had started in his eye. From this, Jen and her husband were reminded life is short and had decided to fulfill a dream of living “off the grid.” With tears in her eyes she said, “You know one of the things I’m going to miss most about my home? Watching the peach tree you gave me grow bigger each Spring.” We decided then to make a plan that when we’re old and gray we’d road trip back to Jen’s old house and see how beautiful the ole peach tree has become.

Unfortunately, Jen and her husband’s plans to move to Cody, WY are on hold. Jen called days after I got back home to Texas. I could hear the shaking in her voice as she told me she was being flown to Philadelphia to the best ocular oncologist. A tumor had shown up in her eye and it was melanoma. Against the doctor’s wishes and without hesitation, Jen made the bravest decision I have ever known anyone to make. She had her eye removed in hope of a different outcome than her Brother. The statistics of Jen’s cancer has put a constant lump in my throat, and it’s created a strength and need in me to help my lifelong friend.

I have made a lot excuses in my mind over the years of why not to sell my images in stores and boutiques. Finally, my desire to help Jen is stronger than my fear to fail.

I would like to introduce my new card and novelty product line, Oliver and Pudge – In honor of best friends. The images represent friendship and are of my dog Pudge and his best friend, Oliver. A portion of the proceeds will go to help Jen with her medical bills and add some joy to her life.

Ironically, I have studied art and photography for over 20 years and in several different countries and the images that are closest to my heart all came about because of someone I’ve known since I was 5.

I would like to invite everyone to log on to Oliverandpudge.com and view their image collection and products for sale, and a list of stores where products may be purchased. Please follow their journey on facebook, Oliver and Pudge and Instagram @oliverandpudge. For wholesale inquiries, please contact oliverandpudge.com.

I would like to thank my mentor and incredibly dear friend, Paul, for ‘teaching me to fish’ and helping me become more than I ever dreamed possible.

I can see it now, as planned, Jen and I will be old and gray one day as we smile and tell the ole peach tree how grand she’s become.