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Andrea Captures dream photo shoot

Andrea takes a photo of Joel Sartore

“ I am very thankful to all the people who helped with my wish…Thanks for the memory! ”

- Andrea

She snaps down the shutter when she sees Nebraska’s majestic sandhill cranes and has a rare opportunity to capture the sharptail grouse’s mating dance on film.

  • Andrea captures a flock of birds during her professional photo shoot

  • Andrea captures an elk during a photo shoot in Nebraska

  • Andrea takes photos of wildlife with National Geographic photographer Joel Satore

  • Andrea takes photos of animals in Nebraska

  • Andrea takes photos of wildlife during her wish experience

Seventeen-year-old Andrea - diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma during her junior year of high school – spends her time taking pictures for her school’s yearbook and newspaper. While dealing with her life-threatening medical conditions, Andrea dreams of becoming a photographer for National Geographic®.

National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore jumped at the chance to help share the power of a wish® and take Andrea - diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma during her junior year of high school –  flies to Nebraska for a dream photo shoot. In the past, Sartore had clients who paid thousands of dollars for the chance to participate in a shoot like this, but Andrea and her family are guests. Andrea dons a camouflage outfit

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish® team and its donors and sponsors wanting to give this wish kid some hope, Andrea is off to Nebraska with her new photography supplies.

Andrea and Joel put on their camouflage and crawl out before dawn to capture the Sandhill cranes during a cold morning in Nebraska. They crouch in a tiny 4-by-8 photo blind in the grasslands to shield themselves from the birds’ view. Andrea had her camera lens ready with the perfect shot capturing the birds and their mating dance.

Away from the viewfinder, Andrea and her family relax at a Nebraska cattle ranch known for its beautiful trail rides. There she snaps publication-worthy shots of pigs, horses, turkeys and elk. She even gets to borrow Joel’s $6,000 camera and $15,000 lens.

Andrea and Joel then share a “small world” moment beyond their love of photography. Joel’s grandfather spent his entire career working for a car dealership owned by one of Andrea’s relatives.

“Joel Sartore … taught me a lot about photography and a little about life. I am very thankful to all the people who helped with my wish,” Andrea says in a thank you letter after her trip. "Thanks for the memory!"

Being diagnosed with cancer was certainly not fun, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. ”

— Andrea

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This story about Andrea getting her wish to be a National Geographic photographer is very inspirational. My own son was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was granted a wonderful treehouse by you. How can we get a story to you to publish about his treehouse? Thank you for being there for all of these kids and families.

January 27, 2007 - 11:46 AM


You are all doing a great job. We would love your newsletter and will be making a donation to your worthy organization. When my daughter was in college, she donated her hair for someone. It made her feel so good. Keep up the good work. My daughter gave me your address and we will be contacting you. Thank you, Maxine

February 04, 2007 - 4:30 PM


I am so happy for Andrea! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Unlike some wishes, she will be able to keep using the experience for the rest of her life. Those are some pretty amazing pictures!

March 16, 2007 - 2:02 PM

June 25, 2012 - 11:25 AM


I myself really like taking pictures myself. It's fun and I would like to meet Andrea because she sounds really nice and fun to be around. :D

March 11, 2015 - 2:19 PM

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