(KMSP) - Just a few days ago, Jill and Kurt Dahmen nervously watched as their life played out on television. Kurt says, “When I watch that piece I can't believe that we went through it. It was surreal to watch."
The Dahmens had courageously shared their most personal painful moments with an audience of strangers. They talked openly about this past year and their 8-year old son Griffin’s hard fought battle with bone cancer.
WATCH THE STORY - Families using photography to ease pain of childhood cancer
But the Dahmens didn’t just tell us. They showed us. They shared dozens of photographs from their time in the hospital. It was part of an alternative therapy pilot project at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Children’s Hospital -- they gave six families cameras and asked them to document everything, the good, the bad and the unimaginable.
“Those pictures are just, you know, they're real. They're real. From all the families," Kurt Dahmen said.
One of those other families we told you about was the Delgados. Their 5-year old son Anton passed away after nearly a year of treatment. Anton's mom, Vanessa is now grateful she found the strength to step back and stop time. Even for a second.
"There was stuff I'd already forgotten, his favorite thing to eat was pureed lasagna and I forgot that and because I looked back on those pictures I was like ‘Oh ya, he ate that all the time,'" Vanessa Delgado said.
Both the Delgados and the Dahmens say this experience isn’t about them. It’s about giving others hope that you can still find joy in the most unlikely places. That message has resonated in a big way.
Within a few days of the story airing, nearly one million people have watched it. Hundreds around the world were so touched that they opened up about their own struggles and victories.
"The thing I was most touched by was all the parents posting pictures of their kids in the hospital. I think you just opened a platform for people to tell their story and telling a story through photos is so huge,” Vanessa Delgado said.
Delgado's sentiments were shared by the Dahmens.
“I think it’s people realizing that their words have power.. to simply tell somebody ‘I'm sorry about what you’re going through’ or ‘I'm sorry for your loss’ or ‘you keep fighting’, those little things are powerful in other peoples’ lives."
"It's just pure. They just felt like they had to say something and that is I think it's beautiful. I think it's beautiful," added Kurt.