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Superhero photo shoots planned for families impacted by cancer

Cary Ashby • Aug 13, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Superheroes, photo shoots and passing the pig.

While those three things by themselves don’t seem related, they are elements of the senior project by St. Paul High School students Amanda Bocock and Jovana Romero. Bocock, 17, of Norwalk, is the daughter of Kristin Zuccaro. Romero, also 17, of Norwalk, is the daughter of Maria.

“Basically what we’re doing (are) superhero photo shoots of kids with illnesses, like life-threatening illnesses,” Bocock said. “We are trying to include all the kids who are affected, so not just the kids who are sick, but their siblings also.”

The photo shoot is family-inclusive.

Bocock combined several ideas from four videos into her senior project.

“I like to take pictures, so it fits my personality. Jovana really likes superheroes so we’re just a dream team,” she said.

Bocock’s brother Jacob had lymphoma, so she knows the impact cancer has on families.

“I honestly want them to have a break, relax and have fun. The pictures could potentially be something powerful for the family,” said Bocock, whose family had a formal photo shoot when her brother was sick. 

“We really enjoyed the photos from that. Even though it wasn’t something fun like superheroes, it was still a very powerful thing.”

Romero heard about the idea from Bocock and said she thought it would be a fun project to do.

“First, my cousin was in love with superheroes and then she showed me and then ever since, I’ve been in love,” said Romero, whose favorite character is the Flash, aka the Fastest Man Alive.

During the photo shoots, Romero said she will show the families different options — not just the well-known superheroes, but also the sidekicks such as Kid Flash and Robin — especially if someone is indecisive. Princesses are another costuming option.

The pair plans to hire people make the custom-built costumes. Romero said she hopes the children will feel special since the outfits will be fitted.

“First we’re going to see what the kid’s favorite superhero is,” she added.

“Kids love superheroes. Especially because they are so strong because of what they’re dealing with, first off, it shows they really, truly are a hero,” Bocock said. “We notice they are a lot a stronger than what a lot of other people could be. We want to bring that out with the superhero aspect of it and have them have fun too.”

The pair are working on a fundraiser — Pass the Pigs. The money will fund the costumes, possible photo books, posters and a catered superhero party. Families have helped paint wooden pigs which will go on stands and will be placed in people’s yards. 

“The person (who) painted the pig will pick a yard of someone they know and put it in the yard,” Bocock said.

The recipient also will receive a flyer about the project. It will encourage the person to make a donation, with the money going toward the project.

“It encourages that person to donate before they pass the pig to someone else’s yard,” Bocock said. “We’re trying to get photo books for the end of it.”

The families will be photographed in front of a white background and a superhero one will be added via Photoshop later. 

“Then we are going to blow it up on posters,” Bocock said. “Hopefully at the end of the school year we can have a superhero party. When Pigs Fly offered to have people dress up as superheroes. So they said they would have them to the party.”

St. Paul graduate Caitlyn Corrigan organized a similar Pass the Pig fundraiser for Girl Scouts when she was in elementary school.

Bocock and Romero volunteer at When Pigs Fly, which describes itself as “an upscale resale and retail shop in support of The Piggyback Foundation.” When Pigs Fly is located at 31 E. Main St.

“They give families a piggy-back ride out of their troubling situations. … They are just helping them out, trying to maintain normalcy in the kids’ lives. It’s mainly directed toward kids,” Bocock said. “They try to help everyone, so they have options to help everyone, but they mainly direct it toward families with kids.”

For more information on Bocock and Romero’s senior project, go to the “Empowering Our Heroes” Facebook page. They can receive messages there.

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