And this is only the physical damage; the emotional trauma of such an experience is something I cannot even begin to comprehend. But Beth did it.
To celebrate her survival, and to raise awareness of this unspoken battle, the after effects of war with cancer, Beth posted naked photos of her body, photographed by Nadia Masot, showing her scars and what these surgeries look like, a glimpse of what people live with. She calls it the Under the Red Dress Project, because
“each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story. "
103 people that Beth felt would care enough to be friends with on Facebook cut all ties with her for showing battle scars. And the photos had a disclaimer of nudity. She explained they were in awareness for breast cancer and to show the importance of self-examination, to avoid others befalling the same fate. But 103 people thought they shouldn't be seen.
What upsets me most about this is that I know from my own experiences with any sort of news, big or small, that Facebook is where people show support for each other. When I got a new job, I got over 100 likes on a status about it. So I know that at least most of those who unfriended Beth had shown support, at least in a Facebook like, for her battle during cancer.
My question to people like that is, how can you take away your support for someone, adding hurt to their pain, who is merely raising awareness of a cause that is VERY pertinent in our society? Her personal experience is invaluable, and I commend her strength to share her story and be the voice for this worthy cause.
Breast cancer is something that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with. Think of your 7 closest family or friends, and at least one of you will get breast cancer. And that's just one kind -- melanoma is a big one, too, and then of course there's leukemia, not to mention any kind of cancer can spread to multiple places before you even know you have it. It's terrifying, and to pretend it isn't a threat, or to ignore the warnings and think, “It won't happen to me," could literally be your funeral.
“But you're young." Sure, I am. But kids and young adults contract leukemia and other cancers younger and more frequently than ever, and breast cancer is increasingly common in the 21-30 year range, when it used to be only seen in 35+ year olds. So I am heeding Beth's warning. And I commend her bravery on speaking out on an issue that unfortunately some people find controversial. I know that until one person is brave enough to speak out, the millions else who suffer won't. And I'm glad Beth found her voice, because those others are sure to come out of the woodwork and strengthen her cause.
Those of differing views, who think it was immodest of Beth, or vulgar, I hope you can at least see her point and support her cause, because chances are a loved one of yours has been or will be diagnosed with cancer, and you certainly would support them. Because if there is one good thing that has come out of social media and the popularity of the internet, it is mass communication. And these things need to be talked about.
To share your support, thoughts, or survivor story, go to Under the Red Dress' Facebook page here.