The Gold Hope Session | Max

In the past year since I've started volunteering for the Gold Hope Project, I have met some inspirational kids and their families. The most recent one is Max. We met in beautiful Old Folsom CA for his photoshoot earlier this year. 

Young man leaning against a brick wall, Folsom CA

Easygoing and friendly, he is an unassuming young man. He ran cross-country for most of his high school career, plays piano, and loves computers. I learned these things from his mom, who calls him an inspiration to her. It's no wonder - despite his ordeal, academics come first. In fact, Max will be graduating as valedictorian of his class this coming June. 

Young man in a red graduation robe and gold stole sitting on grass near a tree

My favorite part of the session was climbing down the rocks to the water and finishing our shoot near the bridge. It was awesome to be able to take photographs down there. I don't usually venture down there with clients, especially with young kids. It's pretty rocky and can be slippery, depending on the weather. Plus, most people don't want to hike down rocky paths in heels. I guess that's a big plus to having photoshoots with older kids ;) We're able to have their sessions in locations that I don't dare take the younger ones. 

Young man sitting on rocks in front of a bridge during sunset, Folsom CA
Young man standing in front of a bridge in Folsom California

If you are interested in learning more about the Gold Hope Project, please visit their site! There you can read about the young fighters and the stories that their caregivers want to share. You will also find information on how you can help. 

Claire Toney is a professional photographer located in Rancho Cordova CA. Having a life that matters is pretty important to her. She loves this quote from Erma Bombeck: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'. Volunteering may not give you glory, but if it leaves the world a better place, then it's worth the time and effort you put into it. 

To contact her for a session, please send her an email at She may also be reached by phone or text at (916) 769-5482