After losing a couple of family members to cancer, Arcola photographer Kennedy Tessier is taking empowerment photos of people with cancer.

The Arcola based photographer lost her dad to cancer nearly four years ago, and her aunt about three years ago.

"That kind of just made me want to do it," said Tessier, who started working with cancer patients back in 2020. "This year I decided to open it up again, because I've decided I'm going to try to donate some money in my dad's name to cancer research."

Tessier said she's currently working with a group of people who have a range of cancer types, including breast cancer survivors and ovarian cancer survivors.

"It doesn't matter what cancer they have, I believe everyone should be able to talk about what they are going through and have gone through," she said. "It's so empowering to listen to their stories and to see smiles on their face."

"Helping all these cancer patients feel good about themselves, because they get to have a little photoshoot done by me."

Tessier said she also offers to do an interview with them.

"Kind of talk about what they're going through, so people have a better understanding of what struggles they go through," she said. "A lady messaged me and said she's finding that she's struggling with getting in for cancer treatment because it's so backed up, and that got me because she's also a nurse, so that was a little heart wrenching because she can't get in and she's so young."

Tessier said she plans to continue the project into the future.

"I enjoy working with these people and getting to know them," she said.

"I want to keep helping them feel good. It makes them really happy and it makes me happy seeing them feel good."