They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s certainly the case when it comes to our 7-year-old cover girl, Ari.

In the words of Ari’s mother, who sent a note to Kids Rock Cancer project director Peggy Musen, the day meant so much more than just a photo shoot. In the days leading to getting her picture taken, Ari spent time planning her outfit and getting her nails done—instead of thinking about how many times she felt sick that week or how her new chemo meds were making her tummy hurt. And during her infusion, rather than just sit through the treatment, Ari excitedly told all the doctors and nurses about her upcoming photo session.

Ari’s mom ended her note by saying thanks for honoring her daughter with this opportunity. On behalf of Maryville University and everyone else involved with Kids Rock Cancer, I’d have to say it was Ari who honored us with that sweet smile. For more of Ari’s story and how Kids Rock Cancer is helping children like her, turn to p. 18.