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'This is my story, but it could be yours': The power in 'Capturing the Moment' fundraiser

The fundraiser gives cancer patients their time in the spotlight, with a professional photoshoot free of charge. This year, 44 patients are on the list.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's become an annual tradition over the last 6 years, a day of empowering cancer patients and their loves ones through photos. 

Every year, the UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center hosts 'Capturing the Moment,' a free photo shoot for dozens of families in downtown Louisville.

This year, it'll welcome its largest group yet with 44 patients. For the first time, a number of them will be kids.

UofL's Dr. Megan B. Nelson is the founder of Capturing the Moment, and a cancer survivor.

"It changes who we are and reflects who we are, and I want to honor that for each patient and let them see when they look in the mirror, at the pictures on the walls, they're strong, resilient and can keep moving forward," Nelson said.

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It's a day of red carpet treatment for people who've suffered so much, many who aren't sure where they'll be a year from now. 

That was a fear last year when Richard Lockette first stepped in front of the camera during Capturing the Moment at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens. It was a perfect setting for the man who loves the outdoors.

"I'm an outdoors person," Lockette said. "Worked outdoors my whole life. Bus driver, truck driver, highway maintenance...until photography. This is my niche."

Lockette's passion is behind the camera.

"I just take pictures until I can't take pictures anymore," he said.

As the man behind the lens, there have been few times when he's been the subject of the photos. But last year, he became the focus.

"That was magical for me. Because I had no pictures like that, nothing of me and my wife," Lockette said.

Sitting on a park bench at Waterfront Park, he and his wife flipped through a hard cover photo book of photos taken during last year's Capturing the Moment - memories of the joy they felt in those moments to have each other despite cancer's threat to cut Lockette's life short, not once but twice.

His journey began in 2004, when his doctor discovered stage 2 colon cancer.

"He told me I had a tumor the size of a grape fruit," Lockette said. He also learned he had a hereditary condition that increases the risk of many kinds of cancer called, Lynch Syndrome.

The chemo and radiation rid him of the colon cancer. 

He thought it was over. 

Then, in May of 2021, a pain in his stomach revealed stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"He told me things looked so bad it was weeks," he said.

It's the same cancer that killed his father just two weeks after diagnosis.

"I knew I was in danger," Lockette said. 

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But Lockette says he had a major support system pushing him to fight it like a champ. 

"I had so much love coming my way, from my family, my church, everybody at the hospital, at Capturing the Moment. It was awesome. I'd never been loved on like that, ever," Lockette said.

Today, his scans are remarkably clear and he's planning to celebrate by stepping in front of the lens for a second time, spreading a message of hope for others on the same path.

"This is my story, but it could be yours," Lockette said.

Thursday evening, the Brown Cancer Center is hosting a cocktail hour to support its event. Money raised through donations and silent auction items will be used to create a permanent endowment to ensure Capturing the Moment continues for years to come. 

You can stop by the Waterfront Botanical Gardens from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 off Frankfort Avenue in Louisville. It is free to attend.

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Contact reporter Brooke Hasch atbhasch@whas11.com. Follow her onTwitter (@WHAS11Hasch) andFacebook.

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