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Photo Exhibit: Pink-Ribbon Boudoir for breast-cancer survivors
December 2 @ 11:49 pm
Boudoir Photo Exhibit featuring breast-cancer survivors looking beautiful and confident which can transform self-image. Food trucks and silent auction. Rated PG-13. Arizona’s first such event.
Seven Southern Arizona breast-cancer survivors won a free boudoir-photo retreat in August 2022 for a day of sisterhood, salon services and photo shoots for an empowering experience to enhance self-image and confidence in an emotional healing. This is the free public photo exhibit of their favorite photographs to raise awareness and compassion for survivors embracing their new normal.
Fifty large canvas photos will be on display together with a big silent auction, food trucks and free pink lemonade. Rated PG-13, the exhibit is designed to appeal to the general public. A 16-page program will introduce survivors through photos and quotes, and the survivors will attend the exhibit as well. The event is presented by title sponsors Tucson Plastic Surgery, project-creator and Tucson boudoir photographer Jana M. Suchy and host The Post Workspaces.
The sad truth is that breast cancer touches the lives of so many in some way. The treatment can be brutal to body and soul, and Pink-Ribbon Boudoir helps survivor/warriors see their enduring beauty. Survivors spoke of the camaraderie at the photo event and special bond forged together through breast cancer, an experience no one can know unless they’ve walked in their shoes.
“When I was diagnosed I thought I’m never going to feel pretty again,” said Kaiona Villegas when seeing her photos, a field accounting clerk with Stewart Title. “I think plastic surgeons should display the photos for other patients to be inspired.” Her journey included a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation, hysterectomy, ovary and partial thyroid removal.
“I walked into TMC a healthy, vibrant woman & walked out a cancer patient,” said survivor Mary Rigdon, a UofA associate professor. “You put together an incredible group of people. The best part was start to finish—queens for a day! We laughed, we cried, and then we laughed some more.”
“I left crying out of gratitude,” said Martha Diaz, library associate at El Pueblo Library. “I felt really seen when I thought I’d be invisible. Thank you for photographing me!” she added. “So amazed that you showed me MY beauty!”
“When I went through breast cancer I benefited from meeting others who did too, seeing that ‘This isn’t gonna be the end, this isn’t gonna be the end,’” added Nicole Melonis, Town of Oro Valley Director of the award-winning “I Can Too” program. “Others don’t like to talk about it, tippytoe around it.”
“I love my photos,” said Melissa Valenzuela, events coordinator with the UofA Police Department. “I see someone who is fierce, and stunning. It’s different than the way I see myself. I have loved every minute,” she continued. “In a heartbeat I’d do it again.””
Thanks in large part to title sponsors Drs. Silvia Kurtovic and Raman Mahabir of Tucson Plastic Surgery, Suchy has raised funds partnering with local 501(c)(3) nonprofit Nadia Strong Foundation. Suchy created a successful Pink-Ribbon Boudoir pilot project in Helena, Montana, in 2012, inviting survivors to a daylong photo event, identifiable in bright-pink T-shirts at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
This is the first such event in Arizona, a unique way to help survivors heal. Since the Komen organization completely pulled out of Arizona, Suchy said coming to the exhibit is one way Tucsonans can support local breast-cancer survivors.
More information and photos can be seen at pinkribbonboudoir.com. The project welcomes tax-deductible donations to help fund the event; contact Suchy at firstname.lastname@example.org.