“Adaptability” By Jik-Reuben Pringle
It’s October which means it is Breast Cancer awareness month. Last year I decided to take action and used my creative talents to help spread awareness on this cancer. I had plans to do another concept this year but time got the best of me. So I’ve decide to do my part this year by donating as well as writing a blog post on the matter.
“Breast cancer is the leading cancer in Jamaican women. It accounts for 29.4 per cent of all cancers in Jamaican women. Age-standardised rate (incidence) of 43.1 per 100,000 per year. That is, every year, for every 100,000 women in Jamaica, 43 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed. There is a lifetime risk of one in 21 or, for every 21 women in Jamaica, one will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.” - Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer, 2012
“Team work, makes the dream work” and I wouldn’t have been able to execute this photo shoot if it wasn’t for this awesome team.
MUA: Kim Kelly
Retoucher: Elite Productions
When I was younger an employee at my mother’s office died of breast cancer, I saw her through the different stages, from being healthy to losing one her breast and then in the final stage before she died.
She was unaware of the dangers a “simple” lump in the breast could have and as such by the time she found she had cancer it was too late. Even though she removed the cancerous breast; the cancer had already spread to the rest of her body. With this story and realizing how many people know very little about breast cancer or even know how to do a simple self check, I decided to use my talent to send a message.
Excerpt from: SURVIVING CANCER
“You see, women tend to be defined by your breasts, you know. Little girls don’t have breasts but women have breasts. So that when you are faced with losing part of what defines you as a woman, it is traumatic,” Graham reasoned. “It takes a bit of wrapping your head around it and some persons never really adjust.
“But it is important to understand that your breast does not define you, or you are not defined by your breast,” she continued. “You are a person and all your faculties remain in place. Everything about you remains in place… if you lose a fingernail you don’t cry, so if you lose a breast you move on.”
The symbol on her forehead is an African Adinkra symbol which represents ”Adaptability”. Being able to bounce back from any form of cancer isn’t an easy feat, and for women bouncing back from breast cancer most times is very difficult. Most suffer from suicidal thoughts and enter deep depression. The ability to adapt and learning that this lack of, doesn’t make you less of a woman as the quote above states. With this project I wanted survivors to know life hasn’t ended, you can make it through the recovery process and live a normal life once more. It is to note however that physical changes isn’t the only thing one will have to learn to adapt to, there is also financial, emotional and family adaptation that has to occur as well.
I hope these piece touches you and that it moves you all to self test at least once a month and get educated about this cancer. It is my hopes to exhibit these photos some day. Also for next year I would love to partner with the Cancer Society of Jamaica or any other organisation to execute a larger concept and video project I have in mind to spread awareness on this cancer. So if you or any one you know has the connections, feel free to message me.
PS: Even men suffer from breast Cancer.
Here are some helpful links that you will find useful in being prepared and check for breast cancer:
Thanks for Reading…
-Jik-Reuben, Visual Ninja, 2015.
UPDATE: October 28th, 2015
I told you the story of the worker at my mom’s work place, well today I found out one of my cousin’s mother is tackling stage 2 breast cancer and is currently doing Chemo Therapy. I ask that you guys pray for her recovery.
UPDATE: March 21st, 2017
My Aunt was discharged from the hospital in January, unfortunately there was nothing else the doctors could do. She died last week Monday. RIP Aunty =(