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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Harper Rhea | Fun & Fiesty | Toddler Session

Meet Harper Rhea. 19 months old and quite the beauty!! What makes Harper very unique, in her grandma Emma’s opinion, is that she is one fiesty little girly girl! One look into her gorgeous, piercing blue eyes, and you can see why this little one is totally spoiled by her grandma! Emma states that every time little Harper comes over to her house, she looks into the closet to search for new pretty clothes and shoes to wear!!!

Harper had a total blast exploring Mt. Trashmore (a former landfill) with us, and it was hard for me to see her infamous fiestiness while she was completely consumed with smelling the flowers, falling in the mulch, and asking sweetly for more “snacks!” I have been warned, however, that she is not always as perfectly sweet. Having a high-energy toddler of my own who often behaves wonderfully in public when he’s occupied by being out, I understand this phenomenon completely.

Fierce boldness aside, little Miss Harper was a total joy (for me), and I got to see her express her artistic side while she painted (finger-painted/finger-smeared/glitter-paint-squirted) a beautiful masterpiece of her own atop the Mt. Trashmore man-made mountain. A piece almost as beautiful as her sweet face. She also took a brief safari with some jungle animals! Take a look!!

Oh, and her gorgeous self definitely did not help my baby fever… I decided that I would absolutely love to have a baby girl that looks just like her!! 😉

If you enjoy my images and would like to see more, please show your support by liking my page, Nancy Wiley Photography on Facebook! Thanks a million!!

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