McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A group of North Texas businesses got together to give a family a precious keepsake from what could be their last holiday season together.
If there’s one thing the Mathenys want other families to join them in doing this time of year it’s making memories.
Memories that on Wednesday, Dec. 15, came in the form of a professional holiday photo shoot complete with Santa.
A McKinney photography studio, Fritchie Studios, got four area businesses to help build an elaborate set and offer free portraits for special families like the Mathenys.
“It means a lot, it really does, It’s a huge blessing,” said Gabriel Matheny of Corinth, a long-time EMT for an ambulance service in DFW.
A blessing because he has spent much of the last five years in a hospital bed.
He has an inoperable brain tumor that could soon take his life at the age of only 36.
“It absolutely does enter my mind, the whole, ‘hey, you know could it be my last Christmas?’ I don’t know,” said Matheny.
“It’s an emotional roller coaster that there’s not really a way off that’s with a good ending,” said his wife Erin Matheny.
The couple’s 10 and 8-year-old children smiled for the camera, but their parents can only do so much to protect them from the reality of this upcoming Christmas.
“We want to make each one memorable for sure, it’s the best we can do for our kids,” said Erin.
The portraits from these Magic of Santa sessions can cost thousands of dollars.
But their value to families facing what could be their last holiday together is priceless
“The number one thing for me to provide for them is a great memory and a great experience,” said photographer Chris Fritchie. “Getting those memories, that’s always a good thing.”
The Corinth father hasn’t given up his fight and has already outlived the odds.
Still, he wants his kids to have enduring images of a happy family around a Christmas tree that they can always cherish.
The other businesses that contributed to the free photo shoot are Runyons Fine Furniture, Frisco Wholesale Lumber Cre8stone, and Richard Pedretti-Allen McKinney Heritage Homes.