How would you describe your initial reactions and feelings when you first received your breast cancer diagnosis?
Big shock and scared as I was young to be diagnosed, the fear of what’s to come and the unknown is difficult but the support and reassurance from the doctors and my family helped a lot.
What aspects of your individuality do you feel have been most challenged, changed or strengthened by this experience?
If having treatment didn’t change the way you look (losing your hair / a bit of weight gain ) it would be a lot easier to deal with. You lose a huge part of who you are when you go through treatment, but coming out the other side and building yourself back up is strangely worth it. Feeling yourself again is an amazing feeling.
Are there specific moments or experiences in your cancer journey that stand out to you, which you would like depicted in the sculpture?
As mine will be connected to my mums, she had breast cancer too, although not genetic it still hugely connects us, I want the art work to flow into hers with flowers connecting of some sort. The fertility side also stood out to me and I didn’t know it could make you infertile, I successfully froze my eggs so that was a huge stage of my journey. I’m not sure if you can incorporate that in art so don’t worry if not.
How has your perspective on life and your own identity evolved since your diagnosis?
A normal happy feeling which you wouldn’t think twice about pre cancer is 100x happier when you reach the other side. You just appreciate life and those around you a lot more. I am slowly building myself back up again to not just feel associated with having cancer, and to just be me again.
In what ways do you feel bravery has played a role in your cancer journey? Are there particular instances of courage that you’d like represented?
I truly had the mindset of it is what it is and there’s an end date that I just need to get to and then this will all be over. It came round a lot quicker than I thought and now is a distance memory.
How do you want the world to see you through this sculpture? What part of your reality, character, or experience would you like it to emphasise?
I want it to somehow show it going darker to lighter, because you really do think in the moment that this is just the most awful thing and life will never be the same. But there really is light at the end of the tunnel and the days after are so bright ☀️
What has been your source of strength and resilience throughout your journey with breast cancer?
Just keeping a positive mindset throughout, switching your mindset to thinking chemo is something great going through you that will cure you, not something that will make you feel rubbish. Having something visual that you can tick off to show the end date is coming, but ticking it off not crossing it off .. keep it positive! And having supportive people around you who just keep life going on as normal.
What does being a part of this exhibition mean to you? How do you hope it might impact others who see your sculpture?
I think it’s very important for people in my age group, as girls’ appearance these days is so focused on! To show the amazing things that can be done with surgery and that you can still feel comfortable after operations like this.
Is there a specific message or emotion you want to convey to the audience of this exhibition, particularly to those who might be going through a similar experience?
That you don’t need to worry, the medicine, research, and surgery is so developed these days that there is simply a start and an end to the nightmare and then life is good again. I just want my cast to show it in a positive light
How has the ABC community helped you with your journey?
It’s amazing how much ABC want to push the knowledge out there. I was lucky to have a lot of support around me, a mum who had been through it herself, and friends who are nurses who gave me the support I needed but for those who might not have that, it’s great to have someone they can turn to through ABC