Colby Strong

Meet Colby: 9-year-old B Lymphoblastic Lymphoma Warrior and Budding Photographer

On March 24th, 2020, then-8-year-old Colby was diagnosed with B Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (BLL), a rare pediatric lymphoma. Even though he has at least a 2.5 year battle of intensive chemotherapy ahead of him, Colby lives strong by expressing himself through photography and helping others.

2020 Livestrong Solution Grant winner, Pablove Shutterbugs, is a suite of photography education courses that meet kids at various stages of their cancer journeys, all at no cost to students and their families. With funding from Livestrong, The Pablove Foundation has been able to adapt to the pandemic and continue serving kids like Colby.

Colby found out about the Pablove Shutterbugs photography program from his Child Life Specialist while at the hospital. As a lover of the arts, he was immediately excited to enroll in the class and learn photography alongside other kids going through cancer.

The day his Shutterbugs camera kit arrived in the mail, Colby was unable to walk due to a severe reaction from his medication that rendered him immobile. Amazingly, the camera was the thing that got Colby up and walking again! Every day, his mom and he would take little walks one house further and further up their street, until he regained the strength in his legs. During each walk, Colby would immerse himself in taking pictures, and those moments became true healing magic.

“Resilience” — Colby, 9-years-old

One of the pictures he took was of a tree, which he titled “Resilience”. Of that photo, he says: “This tree is like me because it looks like it’s been through some tough times, but it’s growing from them…just like me.”

Colby says one of the greatest parts of Pablove Shutterbugs was “expressing himself through art.” His favorite lesson was Portrait Week, where he focused on taking “thousands of pictures” of his newest, furriest, subject — Barkleigh, the dog his family got during the pandemic.

“Home Sweet Home” — Colby, 9-years-old

Colby enjoyed the Pablove Shutterbugs class so much that he took it twice — back to back! During his second round, he got access to Fenway Park where he snapped this incredible shot he titled “Home Sweet Home”.

Colby manages to stay positive despite suffering from many harsh side effects from his chemo treatments. He is always looking for ways to give back and help others. He organized a toy drive for other kids called “Operation Colby Claus” and is even raising money to help find a cure!

Check Out This Video Message from Colby About His Experience!

A heartfelt thank you to Colby, his family, and our friends at The Pablove Foundation for allowing us to share this incredible story.



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