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Goshen woman turns passion for photography into non-profit

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A Goshen woman has a passion for photography, but what's so amazing is how she turned that passion into a blessing for hundreds of people in our area.

Many moms use Facebook as a way to post pictures of family and friends, but not Heather Harkless.

She turned her hobby of photography into a full blown non-profit all through this Facebook page.

"I realized I could use photography as a way to fund our adoption but also to help make a difference in the community," said Harkless.

Harkless was so moved by the stories she shot of deep hardship and happiness she founded the House of Hopes.

"When you are laying in your hospice bed you're not thinking about capturing those moments, but when you look back at those they are so treasured."

House of Hopes captures stories of cancer survivors, micro-miracles of life, soldiers returning home, and those individuals in their last stages of life. House of Hopes photograph and make prints and memory books all for free.

"I don't think about taking the pictures and remembering because I'm just trying to survive it so then when I look back i'm like wow we survived this," said Amber Genovese, whose daughter has a rare syndrome.

Seven-year old Bella O'Dell is one of many special clients of House of Hopes. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with a very rare syndrome of bone marrow failure.

"We've already arranged a super hero shoot in the spring when she can be outside without her mask."

Bella's hair fell out she wanted to dye it purple, so they did and they documented it all," said Bella's mother Amber.

"You don't really see this often as far as non-profits go I think it's a really unique thing," said Jessica Miller.

Heather says she spends 50-60 hours a week working with the charity among raising her daughter. She says she knows she's devoted a lot of time and money, but for her it's all worth it.

"Just meeting these families and I lost my father and my sister to cancer and so having a small fraction of empathy and understanding of what they are going through," said Heather.

There's multiple ways you can get involved with House of Hopes, through donating time, material or resources. Just visit their Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/HouseofHarkless

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