Kamasz Family Gift

Last week I gave away a portrait session on my I LOVE BEND OR Facebook page. The lucky winner was ‘Sarah Pfaff Kamasz’, who was just one of the many amazing teachers nominated.

 This post by Jen Carreon  guided me to select Sarah -

 Sarah Pfaff Kamasz a fourth grade teacher at Lava Ridge. Sarah and her husband are currently fighting cancer. With Matt’s fight, Sarah has made it to work ever single day. Matt is in and out of the hospital often and she still manages to make it to school to teach her fourth graders. I often ask her, “how do you do it?” She smiles and says I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t teaching. 
I was a lucky Lava Ridge parent and BOTH of my kids had her as a teacher. Both of my kids excelled in her class. She immediately found their strengths and weaknesses and she pushed them to be better students. Both of my kids grew in her class. By the end of the year our oldest son was exceeding all of his test scores and excelling in math. Our youngest, who was battling cancer himself was able to catch up with his testing and stay current with his class because she went above and beyond for him. Our youngest was a whole grade behind due to his fight, by the end of the year he was all caught up and has his confidence back. 
Sarah is always early to work and the last to leave. She is even there in the summer and always goes in during holiday breaks. 
She is amazing, she’s an amazing teacher, wife and mother. A family portrait would be a great gift for her and her family.


During the week Sarah and I connected and chatted on the phone. By the time our conversation was over I had a pretty good idea of how life currently is for Sarah, her  husband Matt and their young son Oliver. Sarah was very open and comfortable talking about Matt’s condition and situation. Instantly I could feel her warmth, inner beauty and strength. One thing Sarah has come to understand is the importance of photos through their current journey.  As a photographer I feel honored to be able to be in the position to create and capture Sarah and her family knowing that this time is fragile and one that needs to be preserved.

The weather was kind to us when we meet on the river for our session. The sun was bright and warm as were the Kamasz family when they arrived in their carefully thought out and colorful outfits.  I wasn’t too sure how Matt would be feeling. Battling cancer, failing lungs and day 2 into chemo treatment isn’t the best for putting you in the mood to be photographed. To my amazement Matt was in fine spirits. Sarah had said to me earlier, he continues to be a fighter throughout everything that has been thrown at him and that makes him my hero! I think he is a lot of peoples hero.  Dogging icy patches of snow with a wheel chair and oxygen tank and having to climb fences was just some of what he had to do. I secretly think getting kisses from Oliver was giving him strength.

The photos below will give you a sense of the love and strength Sarah and her family have for one another. I believe there are no accidents and we cross paths with people for a higher purpose. It was truly a gift to photograph Sarah and her family.  My gift of a photo session has become an even bigger gift to me.


Thank you Sarah, Matt and Oliver. May this journey you are on together bring you all closer and stronger.


  • Susan - January 21, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    I am a special needs driver for Lava Ridge and I thought I recognized Sarah. I want to say something but the words don’t want to flow. Just some tears. Your photos say it all. You really captured the love in this family.ReplyCancel

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