Local News

Memory of Raeford man will live on in cherished family photos

Posted May 11
Updated May 12

— Ray Burrow, of Raeford, will not be able to walk his daughters down the aisle to get married. He will also miss seeing his children graduate from high school, but his memory will live on forever.

According to family members, Burrow died at the age of 42 on May 11. His brother-in-law, Chris Long, said Burrow had been fighting throat cancer for three years. In April, the family made the tough choice to end treatment.

"All the options has been exhausted," Long said.

Ray Burrow and family

Before his death, Burrow was determined to live what little remained of his life to the fullest. Amanda Ward and Jennifer Williams, of Southern Fried Photography, were there to help capture the milstone moments.

Burrow's body was weak, but his spirit did not waver.

"There was no stopping it. He knew why he was there," Williams said.

He was there for a photo shoot with his wife and high school sweetheart, Christy. And his three kids, Zaidee, 15, Ava, 13 and Nathan, 9.

"She didn't want her children missing out on these important milestones. She was not going to let cancer take that away from them," Williams said.

In the photos, Burrow hands his kids the car keys for the first time. He stands there with them as they wear graduation caps and gowns, and he marvels at his daughters in their wedding gowns.

"Seeing my nephew, seeing my nieces, not really realizing the impact of what they were doing, it really hurt," Long said. "It was touching, but sad at the same time."

Ray Burrow and his wife

Just one more time. One more long embrace with his girls. One more Christmas movie with his boy.

"A week or two ago, he asks his Daddy, 'Can we watch Elf one more time before you have to go?' That's tough," Long said.

Since the photographers posted their images on Facebook, they have gone viral, drawing millions of views. They say if their photos help other families cope with terminal illness, then they did their job.

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