Sometimes, life has a strange way of bringing important news to light for us. One woman, Bal Gill, found that out while on what was supposed to be a fun family trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. The Berkshire-based Gill visited one Edinburgh’s oldest tourist attractions: the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. While the 41-year-old had every intention of spending the day exploring the museum’s exhibits, she ended up leaving with some life-changing news instead.
“I visited with my family in May 2019 during the school holidays,” she explained. “We had been to Edinburgh Castle and on the way down we saw the museum. While making our way through the floors we got to the thermal imaging camera room.”
After getting a few fun and psychedelic pictures with her family, Gill quickly noticed that her left-breast seemed to have a strange-looking splotch.
Gill noted that while she certainly found the picture odd, she didn’t think much and put the photo away while she continued with her visit through the museum. Back at home, however, she decided to look into it further. After a bit of research, she discovered that it could be an indicator of breast cancer – a very frightening reality that her doctor then confirmed for her.
In May of this year, Bal visited us at Camera Obscura on a family trip to Edinburgh. Little did she know that her simple visit and a photograph would not only change her life but in fact, save her life. Read more about Bal's incredible story here: https://t.co/vffxFAKCyJ pic.twitter.com/V0GXsryKEP
— Camera Obscura (@camobscura) October 22, 2019
Per the museum, thermal imaging is non-invasive and uses no radiation, but it does have the ability to detect cancer through heat. That is because it specifically calculates skin temperature – which rises when there is a tumor present.
While the museum acknowledges that thermography is indeed a tool that can be used by breast cancer specialists, they never considered their popular exhibit to have life-saving power – up until Gill came forth and shared her experience.
“We did not realize that our Thermal Camera had the potential to detect life-changing symptoms in this way,” Camera Obscura & World of Illusions stated. “We were really moved when Bal contacted us to share her story as breast cancer is very close to home for me and a number of our team. It’s amazing that Bal noticed the difference in the image and crucially acted on it promptly.”
Gill has a reason to be so grateful. It turns out that her diagnosis was made during the “very early” stages, and as a result of the coincidental museum exhibition visit, she was able to get ahead of her disease.
“Without that camera,” Gill explained, “I would never have known. I know it’s not the intention of the camera but for me, it really was a life-changing visit. I cannot tell you enough about how my visit to the Camera Obscura changed my life.”
That is absolutely incredible, and we’re so glad that Bal Gill was able to discover it before it had progressed. Not only is it important to stay on top of breast health, but it’s also such a marvel the way life takes care of us all.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.