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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Pink Beauty Experience | Breast Cancer Fighters and Survivors | Brainerd, MN

Just before Christmas of last year, my aunt Susie, my mom's baby sister, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As 2013 dawned, Susie began her fight against cancer with surgery and chemo therapy. The usual side effects came along with the treatment; the fatigue, nausea and hair loss.

At the same time as Susie began her treatment, I had an idea.

I was beginning to dabble in modern glamour photography, which I've termed Beauty photography, and I thought about a way to combine Beauty photography with breast cancer fighters and survivors.

Through some collaboration with Susie, my personal project The Pink Beauty Experience was born.

Susie was the first model; the guinea pig of sorts. Just days before the shoot, she shaved her head in preparation for losing her hair from chemo. I think we were both a little nervous and not sure what to fully expect as we met that day and began to shoot. 

The results were spectacular. Susie felt like it was a fun and empowering experience, and while she said it was strange to see herself with a bald head, she loved the images. I did too.
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With Susie's positive feedback about the experience, I decided to pursue my personal project - The Pink Beauty Experience.

Susie goes to a breast cancer support group once a month and pitched The Pink Beauty Experience to them. The idea of me coming down and hosting a Beauty photo session was met with enthusiasm and nervous excitement. A date was chosen and plans made.

As fate would have it, my grandpa's rapid health decline happened the week before The Pink Beauty Experience was planned. Susie and I kept her friends updated about his prognosis and couldn't commit to whether the day would go as planned or not. 

Grandpa passed away at 6:23 am on the morning of the planned Experience. I didn't think I could handle driving 3 hours to the cities alone after hearing the news, and I almost didn't. But my Grandma said she thought it would be a good idea if I went and if the day continued as planned; she said Grandpa would have wanted it that way.

So, I drove down to the cities with Remy for comfort, and we held The Pink Beauty Experience as planned. There were many moments of tears and wavering voices, but as Susie and I agreed, we were honoring Grandpa by hosting this session and focusing on life and surviving; beating cancer and LIVING during the fight.

These women are incredible - living and enjoying their lives in the midst of battling one of the most vile things on the planet. Their smiles were radiant and their laughter contagious. I felt honored to be among them.
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My goal with The Pink Beauty Experience, besides providing an enjoyable photo session for women who are currently battling breast cancer, or who have fought breast cancer in the past, is to ultimately create a coffee table book with photos of these courageous women, along with a short account of their story, written by my talented aunt Susie. 

I need more women for this project.

If you are a breast cancer survivor or if you are currently going through breast cancer treatment, and are interested in being a part of The Pink Beauty Experience, I would love to talk more with you. If you know someone who might be perfect for this project, I would be grateful if you would either pass on this information or give me their information.

This project is something that I have had on my heart for months and I'm starting to see it come to life. I am excited about the process and I am excited about the finished product.

If you have any questions or want to be a part of The Pink Beauty Experience, please contact me at lauraradniecki@gmail.com. 

Let's continue to pray for a cure for cancer. This horrendous disease is far too common and destroys way too many lives. 

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