Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Month of September

I had the pleasure of photographing two remarkable women from Fremont, Ohio: Becky White and Ellen Honsperger.

Becky White (left) is my husband’s aunt and I met her just a few years before she learned that she had breast cancer. Becky was diagnosed in May of 1997. I asked her how she felt when she learned that she had breast cancer and she told me, “I was in shock and it was a very bad year.” Looking at her now, it’s obvious that she has not let it control her life. She’s a very active woman, participates in Race for the Cure and Relay for Life events, works full time, and finds time to travel as well. I also asked her if she had any thoughts she’d like to share and she said this: “It’s a life changing experience. It gives you a new perspective on life. I'm now determined to enjoy the rest of my life and live it to the max!"

On the right is Ellen Honsperger, Fremont, Ohio. Ellen is a 9 year survivor of breast cancer. This was the first time that I had met her, and she radiated a lot of positive energy. She shared with me that prior to her diagnosis, she was a healthy individual and had never had surgery. As I was talking to her about her experience, one part really caught my attention. She told me that she never went alone to any of her chemo or radiation treatments – friends and family worked out their schedules to make sure that someone was always with her! The love and support of her husband Skip, and all of her friends helped her pull through this experience. It seems to me that she is sharing this care now with others through her involvement with the Race for the Cure and Relay for Life events as well.

Becky and Ellen did not know each other before being diagnosed with breast cancer. Now they are part of an elite group of survivors who work together to cheer each other on thru the positives points and the challenging aspects of life.

My name is Michelle White and I’m a freelance photographer in NW Ohio. If you have any questions about this experience or what I do, please contact me at

Back Cover: Sharon and Jim Foster

On February 14, 2001, when Sharon Foster's surgeon informed her that her breast lump was malignant, her immediate response was, "It's not big enough to set a beer on - lets get rid of it!" Sharon and her husband Jim have faced the spectre of breast cancer with the attitude that "Love and laughter help to keep you on the right side of the sod!" That attitude, and their supportive, loving relationship have played a huge part in Sharon's recovery.

Sharon underwent a radical mastectomy, and treatment with Tamoxifen. She is an advocate for self-examination and early detection: she knows that they saved her life.

Photographer: Max Durnford
Photography is the first real hobby that Max Durnford has ever had, and he has taken to it with a passion. Max lost his mother Sharon to cancer in 2005, and a dear friend to breast cancer in November 2007. He feels privileged to be a part of this project. Dance free, Karen.

A Beautiful World

February - Maureen Surkan

Much is done to honour those of us who have experienced Breast Cancer. However, without the "Supporting Cast" this honour is incomplete. To my loving daughters & grandchildren; to my aunts & cousins; to my friends & ferry co-workers; to my dedicated physicians & staff; to the volunteers with the Cancer Society, thank you for being there. Four years ago I found a tiny lump in my left breast. I knew the moment I touched it what it signified. It was confirmed by a diagnosis of "intrusive & invasive" fast-moving breast cancer. Two surgeries to remove the offending lump & some lymphnodes indicated that it had neither intruded or invaded beyond its small form. Four chemotherapy sessions preceded 20 radiation hits with a final diagnosis of less than a 10% chance of re-occurance. I consider myself very fortunate.

My Inspiration:
My best friend Carole often described me as a "cross between PollyAnna & Cinderella". Its true. I have always found something positive in whatever life hands me & have never stopped believing in "Happily Ever After".

Maureen Surkan
Daughter Esther
Grand-daughter Stephanie

Photographer: David Knourek

Saturday, November 24, 2007

July - Jackie Stephenson

When Jackie Stephenson smiles, everyone around her does too. Wearing many hats in her roles of Computer Services Department Head, Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, one would think she would be far too busy to relax and enjoy life. Yet, she can always be found smiling around the small Community College campus where she works. Asked recently about her battle with breast cancer, she told of how her life is better now than ever before. Her reason? Simple - she no longer frets over little things. While undergoing treatment, she spent a lot of time with her young granddaughter. Shown here with her daughter Kelly, Jackie says that the lessons learned from beating cancer changed her life for the better... and that comes shining through every time we see her smile.

This month’s photographer, Billy Ross, began his love of photography nearly two decades ago, while stationed overseas in the Air Force… quite ironic, as both Jackie and her husband turned out to be veterans as well. Billy loves working with people, and also donates photography work to many area charities. His most recent sessions, available prints, and appointment scheduling can be found at

Friday, November 23, 2007

Month of May- Ann Hopper

Meet Ann: Ann Hopper (pictured on the right) is a 38 year old mother of 4 children. She never really thought much about Breast Cancer, so in April 2007 when she discovered a lump in her breast, she didn't think much of it. After a few weeks she decided she should go to her doctor and get it checked out. After all she was thinking it may be a cyst since it seemed to get bigger and smaller. The day she saw her doctor changed her life forever. She was immediately sent to the Breast Specialist where they did a mammogram and an ultrasound. The doctors were 99% sure before the biopsy that it was breast cancer. When the biopsy results came back she was given the official diagnosis of Ductal Carcinoma, stage IIIb. She immediately began chemotherapy treatments which lasted for 5 months. After chemo, she had a lumpectomy to remove the two tumors growing in her breast. She is now undergoing radiation therapy.

Through it all she has been a fighter. Refusing to let the cancer get to her. She has continued to live her life as normal as possible, she goes to work, she takes care of her children and she lives life to the fullest.

Meet Erica: Erica is an amateur photographer who lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. This project is near and dear to her heart as Ann is her step-mother and friend. Erica can be reached at

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

January - Carolyn Dillard

The model for the month of January is Rachel Carolyn Dillard. She is from Dayton, Tennessee. She appears in this photograph with her 2 daughters (Janette, on her right, and Rachel, on her left) and 2 grand-daughters (Leah, on her right, and Allison, on her left). Carolyn was diagnosed in August of 2004 while fullfilling a promise to her sister, who passed away from breast cancer, by getting her yearly mammogram. Carolyn, who is 56, lost her mother to breast cancer when she was young. Her mother was only 50 years old. As treatment, Carolyn chose to have a masectomy in 2004 and has been cancer free ever since.

Her words to others that may be experiencing the same thing were, "Keep positive thoughts!"

I am a portrait and wedding photographer who also lives in Dayton, Tennessee. I joined this project in the hopes that we can make a difference in someone's life. I love to photograph people. Carolyn is my cousin. I would never have known that she suffered this disease had it not been for this project. I am grateful to have heard her story and even more so for the chance to spend some time with this wonderful lady. Just remember ladies, EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES!! GET A MAMMOGRAM EVERY YEAR!!

Jojo can be reached at:
or, visit my photoblog at:

Photograph by Jojo Boudreau

Month of June - Michele Forsten

June's model is Michele Forsten (left), 53, who sees herself as a Cancer Thriver. Her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1972 at the age of 42 and had had a radical mastectomy. She died less than four years later. When Michele turned 46 and seemed to be cancer-free, she thought she was home free. She had had several tumors removed from both breasts starting at age 16, and all of them had been benign.

So it was both a surprise and not a surprise when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 47 in 2002. She had a double mastectomy and TRAM flap reconstruction. In 2003, she co-founded the New York City Lesbian Cancer Support Consortium in response to the lack of support services for lesbians with cancer and their caregivers. With a cancer status of NED (no evidence of disease), she co-facilitates a cancer support group offered by the New York City GLBT Center's Lesbian Cancer Initiative, which is funded in part by the Komen Foundation. She is a published writer and produced playwright ( Michele and her life partner, Barbara, have been together close to 25 years.

In Michele's words:
"Barbara and I had been together almost 19 years when we found out I had breast cancer. She stood by me 'in sickness and health' through my long recovery. For that, I will always be grateful."

The photographer: Beth Hommel lives and works in New York City, where she creates images as unique as the actors, artists and families she photographs. She was honored to participate in this project and hope her contribution helps highlight the fact that the women fighting--and defeating--breast cancer come in all shapes, colors and orientations. Beth can be contacted at


I asked Maggie for a short paragraph from her so I could put her words here for everyone to read.

These are her words:

"Cancer Sucks!!! Having said that, I'll relate a little about myself. I discovered the lump in the Fall of 2001. I told my husband Bill and decided to not have it checked until after the Holidays. My choice, not my husbands. On New Years Eve, we followed a hallowed Southern Tradition of eating collard greens and black-eyed peas, which were supposed to be lucky. Right! In January of 2002 I went for a mammogram and the Dr. immediately sent me to see a surgeon. That same day, the Dr. did a biopsy and confirmed cancer. The surgery was done on February 4th, 2002. To make a very long story shorter, I decided to get a modified radical mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the same time. I did not want to wake up without a breast. After 10 hours of surgery I woke up in recovery. The surgeon did a masterful job of breast removal, and the plastic surgeon used excessive tissue from my tummy for the breast reconstruction. Imagine a boob job and a tummy tuck at the same time. The thing I remember most during that time is the love and support of my family and friends. My husband was with me through all of it. The surgery, recovery, and the ups and downs of chemotherapy. He, my children, grandchildren, and friends made me realize just how important and vital their support and love are to not only just surviving, but living as well. As a side note we now use a rabbit foot for luck now."

Maggie Straub


Photograph of Bill and Maggie Straub by James Stanton

I have done quite a bit of portrait sessions since I have taken up this hobby. But I have never walked away from one feeling so good. Bill and Maggie have been married for 12 years now and it is not very often I get to see them but the one thing that is evident every time I visit them is the passion they both share for life, family, and each other. They could pass for newlyweds to someone that has just met them.

James Stanton


Calendars for the Cure! Each calendar is $15.00 and proceeds go to benefit Breast Cancer research. Order yours today! Check out is a breeze, just click on the Add to Cart button and complete your transaction through PayPal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


About Kimberly
March features Kimberly Shuford from Marion, NC. She is married with three wonderful children -- Brooklyn, Amber, and Chad. Diagnosed in June, 2007, Kimberly has faced this challenge as she has others -- head on. With a strong faith, and leaning on God every step, Kimberly has sought to live life to its fullest and she brings laughter and happiness to all around her. As my husband's first cousin, and very close to my age, I wanted to feature Kimberly to bring her beautiful face and shining spirit to others around the country. I have included pictures of her daughters to show their winsome spirit

Kimberly would offer to anyone just facing this to "just take life one day at a time, stay in the here and now, and trust God completely."

About Karma Shuford
I have been "into" photography for almost 6 years, and have been a semi-professional for almost 2. I enjoy the creative process of photography and absolutely love making people smile by presenting shots that they like. My highest compliment has been, "You really captured his personality in that one!" I wanted to participate in this project to help spread the message that early detection saves lives and there is hope after diagnoses! I live in Canton, NC with my husband and my favorite subjects, 5 year old Travis and 2 year old Kristiana (aka -- The Princess).

Month of October - Elaine Zager

October's page is graced by Elaine Zager.

"In early 2004 my older sister and dear friend (one in the same) was diagnosed with breast cancer.It was in our family history, but I guess I’d never really given any thought to mine, or either of my sisters, potential risk. Ellen had a mastectomy, had lymph nodes removed, endured chemotherapy, radiation. I traveled up to Minnesota a few times that year to be with her, to help her in anyway I could. She was, after all, diagnosed with cancer. In December 2004, just after finishing her radiation, she was approached by a friend and informed about the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk. Without hesitation, she answered yes. The walk was only 6 months away. When she called me about it, my first and only thought was, if she can do it, I have no excuse! I joined, and in June of 2005 she and I, along with our other teammates, participated in our first Twin Cities walk. Out of 9 women on our team, three of them are survivors. The experience is something I can hardly describe in words, let alone do it any justice in just a paragraph. I now consider myself a “co-survivor”. I have participated in the 2005 and 2007 Twin Cities walk, I am registered for the 2008 Twin Cities walk, I participate in a Breast Cancer Early Detection Study twice a year, enduring mammograms, MRI’s and ultra sounds with the hope of finding means to detect this disease as early as possible. I buy pink, lots of pink.

My sister is my hero. I had said earlier that ‘she was, in fact, diagnosed with cancer’, but besides the loss of some physical features you’d never know it. She beat this disease, and she beat it good. Although I’m sure she had incidents of feeling the pain and being depressed, I never saw it. She accepted the hand that was dealt and went about life.

There have been so many strides in the fight against breast cancer. I do what I can to help contribute to that fight. I believe that some day there will be a world without cancer. All the things that I do, the walk, the study, the awareness, I do it because I can, I do it for those who can’t, and I do it because it does make a difference."

Photograph by Eric Stanfield.

Calendar Cover

The cover of our calendar features survivor Lisa Aprati, an anchor/producer with Comcast Network Chicago.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, at the age of 35. I was performing a self breast exam one evening in January when I found the lump in my left breast. I immediately contacted my doctor and scheduled my first mammogram and biopsy. It was Stage 2B cancer. I had a
lumpectomy, 4 1/2 months of chemotherapy, and 2 months of radiation. By October of 2005, I had completed my treatments. I am extremely grateful that my mother told me when I was in my twenties to perform a self exam every month.

Early detection is what saved my life. "

Photograph by Eric Stanfield.

December "Calendar Girl" Adrienne Ritter

Adrienne Ritter is one of the finest people I have ever met. She lives in Harrisburg, and is a wife and mother of two girls and a boy, and a stepmother to two more girls and three more boys. She works at a local military supply depot where, I am *not* making this up.....she packs supplies for our soldiers abroad!
She is a three year survivor and is just as optimistic and lovely as the day is long. I actually met her Christmas day, 2004, as she spoke to a group of us about faith and strength. With tears streaming down her face, she told us about getting "The Call" with the diagnosis. She talked about how she was afraid, and that if God wanted to call her home, that she had lived a rich and full life, and the she was grateful all the same. Her prompt diagnosis and treatment have allowed us to share her beauty and inspiration for these last three years and I hope for many to come. She is genuinely one of the finest people I have had the honor to meet in my life and I love her dearly.
My name is Jeb Boyd, and I can be reached at . I had the pleasure and honor of the initial photograph, yet due to technical issues, this has been a group effort, and as I write this, other terrific photographers in this project are editing the final image as I am the victim of antiquated technology here in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. I am proud to be affiliated with this awesome project, and hope to do this again! Special thanks to Eric, "Mr. October", for his unflagging patience helping me to get Adrienne to you!
Adrienne's quote? "Through God's grace, medical miracles, and determination of soul, I *will* survive!".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Month of November - Berendina Wurth

Cancer Survivor for November is Berendina Wurth, 65, of Monto, Queensland, Australia. Berendina was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and had a lumpectomy followed by 8 weeks of radiation treatment. Now 3 1/2 years later she is still cancer free and in excellent health. Berendina attributes her excellent recovery to a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook.

About the photo and photographer. The photographer is Monique Newton (who also happens to be Berendina's daughter). Monique lives in Middlemount, Central Queensland, Australia. Her passion has always been photography and she loves to indulge her love of the country through her photography. November is the month that Australia holds "The Race That Stops a Nation" - The Melbourne Cup. It is the opportunity for the women of Australia dress up and wear a beautiful if not somethimes outlandish hats and to indulge in a glass of bubbly. You can contact Monique at

Miss April: Carla Kyser

The model for the month of April is Carla Kyser, 29, from Grand Bay AL, along with her 14 month old daughter, Larsyn. Five years ago, Carla found a lump on her breast. While her cancer is not in remission, she still lives and cherishes life. When asked for am inspirational quote, Carla simply said, “Stand strong in your faith.”

Leroy Dickson, a photographer from Mobile, AL, shoots wedding, portrait and stock advertising photography. He also is trying to push into the art world and hopes to arrange a gallery showing in the near future.

Leroy Dickson can be reached at

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Calendars coming soon!

Coming to this blog in the next 3 weeks, a photo calendar made by a group of professional photographers, that will be sold to benefit Breast Cancer research.

Our theme is "pink". Calendars will be $15.00 each.

We will accept PayPal payments only.

Check back here for a look at the calendar and your chance to order!

Thanks!!! :)