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Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting Back

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting Back

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Projects in Khabarovsk and Novosibirsk highlight victims refusing to hide away or be cowed by cancer, challenging prejudice against sufferers.

These vibrant photographs and words show Russian women showing their beauty despite their sufferings from cancer.

Among them in Khabarovsk are Olga Safronova and her son Vadim, 11, who both have cancer. Vadim has leukaemia, and his mother is in the fourth stage of the disease.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackOlga Safronova and her son Vadim, 11, both have cancer. Picture: Tatiana Kritskaya

In Novosibirsk, one of those posing for the camera is Ekaterina, 27, who had a radical mastectomy on her right breast, and has faced adult women in the street pointing at her after she lost her waist length blonde hair during chemotherapy.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackEkaterina, 27: 'I also used to think that death is something that happens to others. But now, once I got ill, I realised that there is nothing terrible here.' Pictures: Asya Molochkova

Alyona Chernykh, organiser of the project in Khabarovsk, said the idea of Beauty Against Cancer came to her ‘spontaneously’.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackParticipants and organisers of the project 'Beauty Against Cancer' in Khabarovsk. Picture: Tatyana Kritskaya

‘Some time ago I started  watching Instagram accounts of girls undergoing treatment in various cities,’ she said. ‘I was very touched by their stories, their struggle for life. In one of them I saw a very good, professional photos of the girl who was so beautiful just as she is: with no hair, no eyelashes. And she was perfect.

‘And I thought that here in Khabarovsk we do not have such photo shoots. Girls who get sick, do not have the opportunity to show themselves. Maybe they want to, but it is not accepted in society. As well as to talk about cancer. Like: ‘If I do not see the problem, then it does not exist’. I wanted to change something in the situation.

‘I offered my friend, a photographer, to do this project. Then I turned to other friends: makeup artists, stylists, jewellery-makers. They had only one question: ‘When?’. This encouraged me very much. I went to a good psychologist who was also interested to take part.’

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackPictures: @krasota_protiv_raka

She explained: ‘For woman is hard to take the loss of hair, eyelashes – this is subconsciously associated with the loss of femininity. Cancer treatment is very long and exhausting, but we want to give support.

‘And at our meetings, and photo sessions, we don’t talk about cancer. Of course, we do not pretend that it doesn’t exist, but we want to give our participants time to forget about it and get happiness from this very moment. Through the photos we show how beautiful they are.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackAnastasia Tyutina, Khabarovsk. Pictures: Tatiana Kritskaya

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackPictures: Pavel Sabudzinsky

Alyona encourages those taking part in the project to believe in themselves as women, to feel their femininity.

‘The initial goal of the project was to show that femininity does not go away with the loss of hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, nor even with serious treatment. The woman is still beautiful, wanted and loved. To help in accepting themselves here and now: do not be afraid of their reflection in the mirror, do not be afraid to show themselves, do not hide.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackOlga Danyuk, Khabarovsk. Pictures: Yaseniya Valkovskaya

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackNatalia: 'I confess, if I had no hair at that time, I wouldn't have done the shoot'. Pictures: Svetlana Tyutrina

‘It’s also true that participating in the photo shoot, and the preparations for it, bring new, positive emotions, which form a powerful reserve for future disease control.’

Here, women taking part wear crowns, the aim being to show them as ‘queens’. Some of them spoke bravely to local online newspaper NGS. Ekaterina, for example, highlighted the additional suffering that many face from people’s attitudes to cancer.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackIn Novosibirsk women taking part wear crowns, the aim being to show them as 'queens'. Picture: Asya Molochkova

‘I have cancer of the second stage without metastasis. Or, I prefer to say that ‘I had it’. I had a radical mastectomy on my right breast,’ she said. ‘The last chemotherapy was at the end of August 2016. Now I’m preparing for plastic surgery -to make the breast beautiful. While wearing special bras, it looks like body armour!

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackMaria, 30: 'Scary, that my beloved family will be here without me. It is terrible to die and never see your loved ones.' Picture: Asya Molochkova
Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting Back'I was fighting and will always fight. I love my family, love life, I breathe deeply. My policy is lifelong remission!' Picture: Asya Molochkova

Margarita, 27, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. ‘I got the diagnosis during my long-awaited, planned pregnancy … I’d been preparing, doing sports, drank vitamins, passed tests, I removed my moles. I didn’t even know that I was already seriously ill.

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting BackMargarita, 27: ''I thank my husband and my mother, it was a very hard time for them. But they, like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, survived.' Picture: Asya Molochkova

‘I was struck by severe apathy, I just couldn’t get up in the morning. But things do not wait, I tried to do everything: work, housework, sports, leisure.

‘In the 7th month a huge lump on my neck appeared. The doctors were surprised and blamed it on my pregnancy. They said my organism protects the child, but eventually it was question mark lymphoma.

‘Then the doctors told me: ‘You have a fatal diagnosis. You need an urgent Cesarean and chemotherapy. As a result of four consultations in the maternity hospital, I was allowed to give birth by myself and to breast feed. How happy I was. On 15 January, I gave birth to my son Bogdan weighing 4,080 grams.

‘A month later, I started to choke and was frightened. I ran to the nearest pharmacy. And then my husband forced me to the hospital. I went through six courses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy. My husband called me ‘G.I. Jane’.

‘And I tried to be patient and endure everything. And cry when my relatives couldn’t see.

‘I thank my husband and my mother, it was a very hard time for them. But they, like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, survived. Close relatives, friends, classmates, they all rallied and tried to help. They even raised funds for expensive tests. Only because of  their help and support am I now in remission.’

source:siberiantimes

Beauty Against Cancer: Inspiring Photos Show Women Fighting Back
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Kaitlin Andrews

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Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.
-Mark Twain

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