Ben Von Wong Rallies the Photo Community to Help Save a Life

At CreativeLive, we talk a lot of about the art of storytelling. Great photos and films tell great stories. Some stories, however, are more important to tell than others.  Award-winning photographer and CreativeLive instructor Ben Von Wong is helping to uncover one such story;  the story of Eliza O’Neill– a 4-year-old girl fighting Sanfilippo Syndrome — a progressive disease that will eventually compromise her sight, ability to walk, feed herself and eventually, very possibly her life. There is a cure for Eliza’s condition, but it comes at a cost; nearly $2.5 million.

In an attempt to raise funds for Eliza’s treatment and awareness about Sanfilippo Syndrome, the O’Neil family Googled ‘how to make a viral video.’ Glenn, Eliza’s father, contacted Karen Cheng, who connected him with the one and only Ben Von Wong. Ben dropped everything to help put together a video to raise awareness about Sanfilippo Syndrome and Eliza’s current situation. For an entire week, Ben and several other artists lived with the O’Neill’s, filming night and day to make the perfect video.

Last week, the video debuted, and with the support of the photo community, the O’Neills managed to raise almost $140,000. Our friends at SLR Lounge, FStoppers and PetaPixel have played a large part helping to spread the word. Shortly after their coverage, the national press jumped on the story, and Eliza’s story is finally starting to go viral.

The O’Neill family is still in dire need of more donations to save Eliza. Join us in our support of the O’Neill’s by donating to, sharing the video your social networks.


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Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.