Buddy Check 3: Art project helps breast cancer survivors around the Ozarks share experiences

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 5:37 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Thursday marks another Buddy Check 3 Day, which falls on the third day of every month. It’s a time when we remind you to check with a buddy to troubleshoot breast cancer.

Some women still find themselves in a life-long battle with the disease, even after following guidelines. A few local breast cancer survivors are finding unique ways to cope.

A recent art project involving Robin Crain and several other breast cancer survivors turned out to be so much more for the survivors, who see themselves in a new light when they look at their photographs.

“I see the joy of ‘I’ve had a great life,’” said Crain. “I’ve traveled. I feel like I’ve lived a million lives, so I’m good with whatever comes.”

Crain was one of six women who participated in the exhibit. She’s been fighting breast cancer since 2016.

“This is stage four,” said Crain. “So we pretty much know it [couldn’t be] a matter of if it comes back, it’s a matter of when.”

Crain’s attitude of acceptance came across so clearly during a recent photo shoot. The word “acceptance” became part of her picture, but she says it doesn’t mean she’s giving up.

“You cannot change the outcome, but you can change the journey for yourself,” said Crain. “You can accept it, fight your hardest and you can have bad days. That’s okay. Just pick yourself up and regroup.”

Those are words of wisdom Crain shared with fellow survivors involved in the art exhibit thanks to photographer Angela Hughes, who is also a breast cancer survivor.

Hughes invited six women in different stages of their lives and the disease to be part of her exhibit.

“It’s been on my heart for a long time,” said Hughes. “What I hoped would happen was that they would interact with each other and develop relationships, and that was exactly what happened. Robin was the mama bear of it all.”

Hughes even invited a stylist to do hair and makeup for the shoots.

“I get to make them feel pampered, and what’s great about it is getting to hear all of their stories,” said Karly Fahey, owner of the Petrichor Salon. “It’s a great experience to be part of. You get to see them all encourage each other.”

Crain shares a consistent message, inside the studio and out.

“You have to be diligent on your exams in your mammograms in home exams because both of mine were caught by me between mammograms, between doctor’s appointments,” said Crain.

This important advice and several moments were captured on film that Hughes hopes will make a lasting impression on the women who shared their stories:

“I think they can see themselves as beautiful and not in jut a physical way, but in all the things that make them them,” said Hughes.

Hughes is planning a similar project in the near future. She’ll be photographing breast cancer survivors through the year for another exhibit in October.

If you haven’t already, CLICK HERE to sign up for our Buddy Check 3 program. It could save a life.

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