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As October draws to a close, the month of pink ribbons everywhere will be subsiding.The Pink Ribbon campaign was a brilliant and very successful campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in an effort to have more women screened and help minimize the astronomical numbers that succumb to this disease. However, as with many things, the pink ribbon is so passe, so much a part of our lives especially during this month, that it is far too easy to forget that it is more than an advertising campaign, it is a life and death struggle for too many people.

The SCAR project by photographer David Jay, in its own words attempts to show that breast cancer is not a pink ribbon. For many, many women and those that love them, it is a reality that we can often forget when we, those who are healthy, are buried in a sea of pink ribbons. According to an interview by The Daily Muse with photographer David Jays he began the project when a good friend of his, in her 20s developed breast cancer. It was his attempt to show the honest effect of breast cancer on young women and help to empower them in the fight of their lives. His photographs are powerful and show courageous women who are living with the reality behind the ribbon. His photographs will be on display in New York City through the beginning of November. You can also read more about this project on his website.

David Jays Photography

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pink ribbon

Image via Wikipedia

“Beauty is not caused, it is.” ~ Emily Dickinson

I came upon this article on CNN about a professional photographer in Michigan who began offering free portraits to people suffering from life threatening or terminal illnesses. It was conceived after two of the photographer’s sisters-in-law succumbed to breast cancer. It was named the Oldham Project after the deceased sisters. The photographer, Terri Shaver has been doing this since 2008. In 2010, she created an offshoot called “Be Bold, Feel Beautiful” to offer portrait sessions to women diagnosed with cancer.  This particular project focused on women who had lost their hair as a result of cancer treatments. The photographer hoped that by photographing these women, she would help them see the beauty within themselves.

All too often, especially as women, the loss of hair during cancer treatments can be very traumatic. Shaver hoped that by photographing the women, she would help to empower these women in the challenges that they were facing and would continue to face.

The definition of “beauty” according to Dictionary.com: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intensepleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, 
whether arisingfrom sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.),a meaningful design or pattern, 
or something else (as apersonality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

Looking at the pictures in the gallery on the website, it is hard not to see the beauty, and the strength, in these women.

 

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I am going to preface this post with a simple disclaimer statement – Everything is fine, I am happy, all is well. I don’t want friends or family who might read this to think that I might have gone off the deep end or I’m not telling them something. If you’ll notice, there is a category listing for all the posts I write and one is labeled “Musings”. This post is merely that – put in type if you will.

Sundial with the motto
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so now that that’s all cleared up…. Today, in between working, writing and making jam (yes I did all three of those things for bursts much like running wind sprints I guess) I was taxing kids (or in TJ’s case, being taxied by a kid) and the radio was on. The band Thriving Ivory has a song Angels on the Moon and one line in the chorus states “Don’t tell me if I’m dying ’cause I don’t want to know”. It struck a chord, began the gears of the mind churning and the end result is this post. Would you want to know?

Interesting question. I guess that from the adult responsible standpoint, yes so that your affairs could be put in order. I guess that from the personal standpoint, yes again so that I could make a point to spend as much time with my husband and sons, my family and friends and enjoy the time remaining to its fullest, not wasting any of it.

As a side note, if you haven’t read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, you should. You can also watch it on YouTube. Bring lots of Kleenex with you- you’ll need it whether you’re reading the book or watching the lecture videotape.  He learned that he was dying of pancreatic cancer and wrote his Last Lecture giving advice, information and mostly importantly sharing life thoughts and impressions with his young children who he hoped would one day hear the lecture. He died three years ago and he was as old as I am now. I recently read that his oldest son, who is only 8 years old has taken up the cause of fighting for a cure for pancreatic cancer.

I guess that what got me thinking about that line was the thought that shouldn’t we all live our lives as if it is our last day? Carpe Diem – seize the day (although that’s not the actual translation, but that’s another post). Spend time with those that we love, surround ourselves with our family and friends, be nice and the most famous of the sayings “don’t put off until tomorrow that which you could do today”. Tomorrow for all of us will someday not come, whether we know the end is coming by slowing trudging toward us or  it jumps out of a corner and snatches us away suddenly and without warning. In any event, I think it’s good advice.

Carpe Diem … Enjoy.

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I came across this one thanks to @sCartierLiebel on Twitter. A little six year old girl who was diagnosed with brain cancer and given 135 days to live wrote hundreds of little notes to her parents and baby sister and hid them all over their house before her death. The child, who was deprived of her ability to speak shortly after her diagnosis, began to write notes to her parents and younger sister. After her death, her parents found these notes all over the house, tucked in to corners, drawers, cds, china and glassware. Each parent has one note that is still unopened.

 

g_bookImage

Photo: From Notesleftbehind.com

 

 

The story of the little girl was started by her parents as a journal for her younger sister to remember the six-year-old after her death from brain cancer. The family agreed to publish the journal and notes into a book called  Notes Left Behind where all the proceeds would go to The Cure Starts Now a cancer foundation. The story can be found at Channel 5 News .

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