Welcome to Pinktober
Pinktober is here, and the Hope Emerges Project is nearly a year old, and I thought I would take a moment to reflect on how all this came to be.
Back in 2005, I was diagnosed with Her2+, stage 3 breast cancer when I was 31.
Just four months before, my gorgeous poppet, Kenzie (2) was diagnosed with the rare bone cancer Ewing’s sarcoma, which had paralysed her.
My beautiful cherub’s body just could not cope the the toll cancer took, and she very sadly passed away on the 29th December 2005. Life would never be the same again.
When I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the scans had also picked up spots on my liver and lung (meaning the cancer had spread) and I was told they’d be hard pressed to keep me alive until I was 40. All I knew was that I wanted to be here until I got Conor to 18, and anything after that was a bonus. Cancer has very cruelly wrecked havoc in his young life too, but I have to say, I am the proud mum to an amazing 14 year old young man now.
So, last year, I hit the big 40. I thought, time to celebrate this one.
So instead of marking my 40th birthday with candles and cake last year, I had a series of photographs taken to celebrate my post-operative body with the aim of empowering women to love the skin they are in. Our bodies give us the gift of life after all.
I wanted to start a whole new conversation about breast surgery and mastectomy.
In the words of Steve Maraboli, “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
Yet, when women are first told that they need to have a mastectomy, the images that they see on Google or are shown by doctors are not beautiful. They are very stark, graphic, and quite harrowing.
Some projects have photographed women post-mastectomy and shown a side of the conversation that speaks to the sadness, and loss of losing your breasts. Yet, there is another side, the hopeful side, the side of the beauty that resides and resonates within each of us. That was the story I wanted to tell.
As a lover of the sea, I chose to have my photoshoot taken at my happy place, North Head, Devonport, a spot where I sought solace during Kenzie’s illness and after her passing.
The photographs thankfully inspired amazing, beautiful women to come forward to be a part of the Hope Emerges Project, and we hope, as time goes on, more and more women will join us and show, that women are beautiful, in their own perfect imperfection.