It can be hard to feel beautiful again after battling cancer. The disease can take its toll physically, mentally, and spiritually, leaving some women struggling to regain their sense of self after its over.
One survivor, recognizing this difficulty, decided to gather several other survivors for a photoshoot to celebrate their beauty.
Misty Higgins is a photographer based in Winchester, Virginia. At age 44, she was diagnosed with stage IIb, HER2-positive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
Treatment took its toll, stealing her hair, sapping her of energy, and leaving her exhausted and grappling with a body that was no longer familiar.
“As I began to recover from that, I wanted to — as an artist and as a human being — make something beautiful of this experience; take all of this loss, all of this pain and all of this struggle, and make something beautiful out of it,” she said.
Her source of strength and inspiration during this? Other survivors.
Now age 46 and with cancer in her review mirror, Higgins wanted to create a photo shoot to celebrate both inner and outer beauty — and she wanted to feature some of the strongest women she knew.
“I wanted to show hope and courage and people who are living a better life then even we were living before cancer,” Higgins said.
So she could be a part of the photo shoot herself, Higgins asked Sarah Garman of Purple Fern Photography to do the shoot.
And the pictures were stunning.
Local businesses donated their services to the shoot, from salon artists and a dress boutique to local artists who lent their art to the space where the shoot took place.
Higgins wanted the photos to show the beauty and power and hope that in this sisterhood of survivors — and she succeeded in that.
“For those who might see this project, I wanted it not to be about the struggle and the loss and the scars and mangled bodies, but I wanted to showcase these ladies’ incredible beauty in spite of all these things. And their courage, strength, fortitude and perseverance. We don’t want people to feel sorry for us. I wanted us to be a picture of hope,” Higgins told The Winchester Star.
Learn more in the video below.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.