Children’s Dreams Come True One Picture at a Time

By ABC News

Apr 17, 2014 5:27pm
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Shawn Van Daele Photography/The Drawing Hope Project

Junaisy Vargas, 6, has a lot of wishes in life — No. 4 seems the most impossible.

“I want to be a mermaid. That’s my wish,” she said.

Junaisy of Las Vegas has Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone marrow cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents.

Most of her hair is gone because of chemotherapy, but for a special photo shoot she put on a wig and entered into a fantasy universe of her own creation.

It was all made possible by Shawn Van Daele, a photographer who turns dreams into reality through The Drawing Hope Project. He visited the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundationand photographed several kids.

Click here for more amazing photographs from Van Daele’s project.

Junaisy drew a picture for Van Daele and he turned Vargas into a real mermaid.

His mission is to bring hope and inspiration to everyone who needs it, especially children living with health conditions. He has brought dozens of these fantasies to life. Parents who hear of him reach out through social media. There are lots of superheroes and flyers.

“I just wanted to kind of get the idea out there that anything’s possible — despite what life throws at you – and it’s just really kind of rippled and it’s changing a lot of lives,” said Van Daele.

He works with kids all over his native Canada and the US. The kids draw him a picture, imagining where they want to be, and he imagines the rest of it with them.

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Credit: Shawn Van Daele Photography/The Drawing Hope Project

Sadie Slykhuis, 4, has Cone Rod Dysfunction, a disease that requires her to be in darkness most of the time.

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Credit: Shawn Van Daele Photography/The Drawing Hope Project

Sadie, from Fenelon Falls, Ontario, hoped to bask in the brightest sunlight so Van Daele took her drawing of a butterfly under a bright sun, see above, and gave her wings, letting her fly among the sunflowers.

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Credit: Shawn Van Daele Photography/The Drawing Hope Project

The project started years ago when there was illness in Van Daele’s family.

“I did it to cheer my dad up while he was sick and I started to realize, I could do this for other families,” Van Daele said.

ABC News’ John Donvan and Jenn Metz contributed to this story.

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