"I don't think these girls will ever understand just how powerful a simple picture of the three of them hugging has been," said photographer Lora Scantling
All from Oklahoma, Rheann Franklin, 11, Ainsley Peters, 9, and Rylie Hughey, 8, are now all cancer-free, according to Today.
This year, they were also joined by 4-year-old Connor Lloyd, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and he was also in last year’s photo.
Although the girls are all in remission, they still have their struggles. Franklin had numerous treatments that caused radiation on her skull to make her bald, according to the outlet, and her eyes droop because of the location of the tumor.
During Hughey’s treatment for stage 4 bilateral Wilms tumors, that she had six years ago, she had to have a kidney removed and a portion of the other kidney taken out.
“The most precious thing that has come from this is watching Rylie’s faith grow and mature, and watching her have so much love in her heart for everyone around her,” Rylie’s mother, Bridget Hughey, told Today in an email.
And Peters, who goes for checkups twice a year, “loves singing, reading, riding bikes and playing with her brother and friends,” her parents told the outlet.
The photographer, Lora Scantling, who has a studio in Yukon, has been photographing the girls from 2014 and said it has been amazing.
“I get some of the most heartwarming messages about people who come across the photo online and tell me about how it has helped them or someone they know through a dark time in their life. I don’t think these girls will ever understand just how powerful a simple picture of the three of them hugging has been,” Scantling told Today.
In 2018, Scantling told PEOPLE that she had been photographing Lloyd’s family for the past six years and was devastated when she heard he had cancer.
She then asked his mother, Leah Lloyd, if she would like to take some pictures of him because “sometimes you never know how much time you have.”
Without hesitation, Leah said yes.
“Before our son was diagnosed, we didn’t think this could happen to us,” Leah told PEOPLE at the time. “We’re now hoping to increase research and document Connor’s story so that when he’s older he can look back and know where he came from.”