Turn keepsakes & family heirlooms into personalized modern art photographs

“Our story isn’t a sad story, it’s a love story,” writes Katie Anne Lester of her daughter, Bennett, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 2 1/2.
The story begins when the family moved from their Lexington, KY home to the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati while Bennett underwent two years of brain surgeries & chemo treatments at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Katie Anne says it was there that “the collection” began—Bennett got a lot of gifts and would tuck tiny parts of them away in her bedside drawer.

“Her dad and I would lay in the bed with her and look at the “collection” while she rested. During her chemo she was so weak. Picking up those little pieces was really all that her body could do.”

Bennett’s tumor grew despite treatment. The family & doctors decided Bennett would spend her last months at home.

“The next 6 months we lived life like most people will never get to experience. Nothing was held back. We went to Disney twice and stayed a month a the beach which was her favorite place on the earth. Most of all we loved on each other like there was going to be no tomorrow,” Katie Anne said.

Bennett passed away shy of her 4th birthday in 2015. The “collection” had been in a metal lunchbox since.

“Ever since her passing, this collection has bothered me,” Katie said. “I cry every time I see it, am terrified of losing it, but felt an enormous sense of guilt keeping it locked up in a box.”

The Heirloomist had the honor of turning Bennett’s collection of tiny things into a great big tribute to her spirit. Katie Anne wanted the photo to be bold and bright so that it kept Bennett present for her kids in a happy way.

We asked Katie Anne if there was anything she’d like people to know about Bennett.

“Her fight and spunk reminded people that life is short and you never know what tomorrow holds. I had tons of Mothers write saying they were going to parent their children better and more intentional because of Bennett. Fights were forgiven and families were kinder to each other because of a 3 year old girl.”

Amen, Katie Anne. You are a ray of light to so many. We’re humbled to be part of your story. ❤️🌸