Palmer Family | Derick the Defeater Saves the Day | VA Beach Family Photographer

“We are so blessed.”

It’s a common phrase you might hear from a large family. Nothing out of the ordinary. To the Palmer family, however, it is more than just words. It is a phrase that keeps them going, makes them appreciative, and reminds themselves just how blessed they are.  

It has been one hell of a year for the Palmer family. In mid-April of 2013, Dirk & Gina’s youngest son, Derick, now 7, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. He underwent 9 1/2 hours of brain surgery to remove an egg-sized malignant tumor. Shortly after, he endured 6 1/2 weeks of Radiation Proton Therapy, next, 9 rounds of chemotherapy, and just last week started a new course of chemo. “Derick the Defeater” has been putting up a mighty fight against cancer, and every day he proves he is just so very brave and strong! You can follow Derick’s journey at Derick the Defeater on Facebook. If you read his story from the beginning, one phrase that you’ll find all throughout his mom’s (Gina) entries is, “We are blessed.” 

The Palmer family has also been separated by distance the past year, with Dirk, Gina, and Derick in Virginia, oldest Alexis, 21, in college in Florida, and younger daughter Mikaela, 18, completing and just graduating from high school in Spain. While the family was reunited for a few weeks this summer, I offered to capture their first whole family photos (since the girls were very young) at Mt. Trashmore. The very strong bond of love of the Palmer family was described perfectly by Mikaela’s quote on their family photo sneak peek on Instagram: “Our family; a circle of strength, founded on faith, joined by love, kept by God, forever together.” 


What an amazing family. I had the pleasure of seeing Derick almost every day the past year, and his little spirit would come bounding into school, often the day after treatment, with a smile on his face – never to complain about pain or being slowed down a little bit. Talk about a positive attitude!!! The little guy undoubtedly gained his bright spirit and strength from his family. Please show Derick the Defeater your support by following his page to help his fight!

Please head over to Nancy Wiley Photography on Facebook to give my page a like to see more of my work! It really means a lot to me! Thanks!! 

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