Cancer survivors pose again after 3 years

Three years after posing for a photo that tugged at heartstrings around the world, these three little cancer survivors from Oklahoma are showing everyone just how far they've come.

Rheann Franklin, now 9, Ainsley Peters, 7, and 6-year-old Rylie Hughey posed side-by-side in a powerful image three years ago, and have reunited every year since.

This year, the trio met up for another photo shoot and to celebrate being cancer-free.

"With everything in the world that's so cruddy, it's really inspiring to see something like this," photographer Lora Scantling told Inside Edition.

Scantling first decided to get the girls — then strangers — together in 2014.

"My stepdad was battling lung cancer at the time and I wanted to do something that would touch people," she said, explaining that she hoped to raise awareness about how cancer affects lives. "I knew that taking a photo of children — that would be one of those pictures that would draw emotion."

So she wrote a Facebook post asking for any little girls battling cancer to join a special photo shoot.

"These three showed up," she said. "It took 10 seconds and they were the best of friends. They walked in and saw the bald heads and they were like, 'She's just like me.' They all just knew."

Rylie, then 3, had just been declared cancer-free but her hair had not grown back, while the other two were not yet in remission. Rheann, then 6, was especially ill.

"Rheann still had cancer all through her body — in her spine, in her brain," Scantling recalled. "We weren't sure she was going to make it through. A year before, they were planning her services."

A few months after the photo shoot, she got a phone call from Rheann's mother, and Scantling said she feared the worst. But it was just the opposite.

"It was gone," Scantling said. "Something happened and she was declared cancer-free."

After the first photo shoot, Ainsley also beat the disease.

While the girls were in and out of hospital visits and treatments, their photo had gone viral.