It was a glitter-filled afternoon designed to help women restore their self-confidence.
On Sept. 30, seven women traveled to Gainesville and met at Mirrored Images Boudoir on Georgia Avenue.
Some of them knew each other, and others were meeting for the first time for the Sparkle and Celebrate Pink photo shoot, but they had a common bond — they were all breast cancer survivors.
Mirrored Images teamed up with Cotton Rouge & Co., Cotton Rouge Photo and Staci Gibbs Makeup to provide makeovers and a photo shoot for breast cancer survivors. The women, decorated in body paint and glitter, gathered to celebrate their bodies, even if cancer had changed the way they looked.
Jenn Hyman, owner and photographer at Mirrored Images, said she has bonded with cancer patients through her work as an emergency room nurse, and she wanted to find a way to help them through her photography.
“I wanted to give them a day that they could celebrate how beautiful they are and how strong they are,” Hyman said.
She said she wanted to help the women embrace their bodies, including their scars, and encourage them after what they had experienced.
“Some women have had reconstruction, others haven’t, some have more scars than others, but regardless, not only is it physically traumatizing but it is emotionally,” Hyman said.
Hyman recruited makeup artists and hairstylists to spend the day at her photo studio in Gainesville. For a few hours that Sunday, the space was filled with women helping each other get ready, taking photos, and bonding and sharing their stories.
Theresa Farmer traveled from Covington on Sept. 30 for the photo shoot. She said she first noticed a sore on her breast in January 2009, but it did not fit with what she knew about breast cancer. She went to the doctor in November 2009 and learned she had Paget disease of the breast, a type of cancer that involves the skin and is often associated with lumps in the breast as well.
“We’re told as women to look for lumps, we’re told as women to look for changes, but no one says that if you have a sore, you need to get that looked at,” Farmer said.
Farmer, who is now healthy, had a lump in her breast and had a bilateral mastectomy in 2010. She also went through chemotherapy as part of her treatment.
She said women should be proactive about their health, even if what they see does not seem like a problem at the time.
“It might seem like some insignificant, little itty bitty sore. It could be something. ... I just thought it was nothing. I thought they were going to send me to a dermatologist,” she said.
She said she appreciated the opportunity to meet other cancer survivors and celebrate each other free of judgment — “To help us women not be ashamed of us that have gone through this, and our bodies change so much, and the way we look and think,” she said.