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Meet Melody Lomboy-Lowe and Gracelyn Bateman of Luna Peak Company in Palos Verdes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melody Lomboy-Lowe and Gracelyn Bateman.

Melody and Gracelyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are an aunt (Melody) and niece (Gracelyn) team on a mission to help others celebrate life through times of adversity. We are creating photography books and elevating survivor stories for the cancer and grief communities.

Melody is a childhood cancer survivor and has always wanted to create a book full of cancer survivors and their advice for fighters since she did not have any examples of survivors during her own cancer fight when she was six years old. We decided to make this dream come to life and started “Project Inspire Hope” – a photography project that humanizes cancer by showing what remission looks like. Starting in January of 2018, we hosted photoshoots for cancer survivors and asked them to share their stories to help those currently battling cancer visualize their own remission as well. We’ve photographed over 100 survivors who have generously shared their stories and advice to help fighters through their darkest times. Many of these survivors were given days or weeks to live, and they stood in front of our cameras to share their stories to show fighters that they can survive too. Many participants are 2x or 3x cancer survivors as well. All of these survivors have inspired us in so many ways and we are thankful to collect all of these powerful examples of remission.

We’ve also created a second project called “Snapshots of Life After Loss.” This is inspired by the sudden loss of Gracelyn’s father and because we have realized that grief is all around us, but we rarely have conversations about loss in day to day life. We set out to photograph and interview grief survivors who have suffered a close loss and asked how they have navigated their “new” life post-loss. We share snapshots of their stories that highlight diverse perspectives on grief and share photos of their unique mementos of their loved ones. We’ve interviewed over 70 grief survivors and the close relationships lost include partners, parents, children, siblings, nieces/nephews, grandparents, mentors, and best friends. The years after loss range from 1-66 years. This project hinges on the vulnerability of participants who have so bravely stepped forward to share their intimate grief experience to show others what life after loss looks like for them.

We are forever thankful for, and inspired by, the survivors from each of our projects who have shared their stories to help humanize the taboo topics of cancer and grief. Their stories have shown others that they are not alone.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many survivors are willing to share their intimate experiences to help others through their difficult times. While each project requires extreme vulnerability from every participant, they are willing to dig deep in order to help others triumph over their adversity. Participants acknowledge how powerful it is to hear advice from others who have been through a similar experience and are now thriving and push themselves to share. So many participants have told us that if their story helps even one person, that their vulnerability and risk in sharing was worth it and we are honored they chose to share with us.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We photograph cancer and grief survivors and our mission is to celebrate life. Our cancer survivor project is called “Project Inspire Hope” and our grief survivor project is called “Snapshots of Life After Loss.” We are known for elevating survivor stories to give hope to those faced with extreme adversity. We know that sometimes you need to “see it to believe it” so we have photographed survivors and crowdsourced stories from those who have been through the experience and are now thriving. Seeing the eyes and faces of those who have walked a similar path can be a powerful reminder that we are not alone. Our photography humanizes the taboo subjects of cancer and grief that people are oftentimes too afraid to talk about. We open up a platform for people to share about their experiences and help others in the process and hope that it also sheds light on how to better support individuals through these tough times. We have created a platform where survivors and fighters feel safe sharing their very personal stories. We are proud that our participants have also found a sense of healing from sharing their stories with us as well.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, Melody battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia from ages 6-9. Her cancer experience shaped her entire life perspective from such a young age; when other kids were worrying about their homework she was getting chemotherapy and fighting for her life. She quickly found out just how strong and resilient she is. Throughout treatment, she swam competitively which led to becoming a scholarship collegiate swimmer. Melody married her high school sweetheart who was touched by her battle with cancer and is now an oncologist. They have three sons together. Melody loves to live life to the fullest by challenging herself with new adventures. She has opened her own talent agency, raced in open water swims and mud runs, learned new sports, and now creates inspiring projects with Luna Peak Company. She continues to give back to the cancer community through volunteering, fundraising, and sharing her story of beating the odds to give hope to others who are newly diagnosed. Her life motto is to celebrate life and “Project Inspire Hope” is an extension of the community she’s been building since her remission.

Gracelyn has grown up with a sense of compassion and empathy for the stories and experiences of others. She comes from a very loving family that set the course for her to give back to her community. Her parents led by example and were very philanthropic to local hospitals and organizations. Gracelyn has followed in their footsteps and taken it even further by creating Luna Peak Company. She is business-minded and earned her Master’s in sociology from Columbia University. She has been the driving force for Luna Peak’s social media and the main business woman behind organizing photo shoots and grief sessions for both “Project Inspire Hope” and “Snapshots of Life After Loss.” The sudden loss of her father three years ago inspired her to look deeper into the grief journey of others and she has been dealing with her own grief while helping others. Gracelyn has truly grown up “rich in family” and chooses to share all of her gifts with others.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

3 Comments

  1. Michelle

    June 18, 2019 at 16:59

    Together Melody and Gracelyn have created something very special. By sharing the stories of others they are bringing awareness to causes that are near and dear to their hearts. They are making a difference by bringing to light the ways people navigate life’s challenges, while at the same time celebrating those experiences. And they do it all with love and the utmost respect!

  2. Jovanne

    June 18, 2019 at 18:08

    Luna Peak’s projects are so inspiring. As a cancer survivor and a recent widow, these projects truly helped me navigate through my own journey… It gives all of us hope and comfort knowing that we are not alone. And that if these contributors – fellow survivors and grievers – were able to handle this adversity strongly and so can the others including me.

  3. Paige Smith

    June 22, 2019 at 14:36

    Melody and Gracelyn are both rays of sunshine amidst cancer and grief’s dark spaces. I’m so lucky to have met them both and love the work they are doing to bring hope and direction to these two communities.

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