Woman starts nonprofit Capturing Hopes to get first moments of preemies

Sixteen years ago, Deneen Bryan, her husband and their then 2-year-old son sat for a family photo with the new addition to their family, a baby girl.

It wasn't in a professional studio with fuzzy looking backdrops or at a local park with fall foliage. Instead, it was at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Their daughter, Christina, had a liver transplant at 4 months old. The donor? Deneen.She needed surgery again two months later. Bryan didn't think too much at the time about the professional photographer who was offering to take images free of charge for families in the hospital, but now she does. "After she passed away, we got the photos in the mail," Bryan said. "That's when I really realized how important those photos were. That was our only professional photo that we had of our family at the time."After their daughter died in 1998, the Bryans moved to Ireland for 10 years, but in 2008 came back to the U.S. and settled in North Carolina. A Ronald McDonald House helped the family in their time of need. When they moved back to the USA, Bryan said she was thrilled when she learned there was one in their area. Recently becoming a professional photographer herself, Bryan volunteered to take photos with Ronald McDonald families and their children who were being treated at local hospitals. Their visits on Fridays became so popular, families were placed on waiting lists, but Bryan noticed an under served segment of patients: preemies. Most of the families with preemies were not staying at the the Ronald McDonald House, but Bryan felt they needed photographs too, so last year she started Capturing Hopes.