From the time of a cancer diagnosis, there are many life changing events for a patient or survivor. For me, none could be as positive as the night of January 27, 2012 – the launch of Scar Stories. The Brisbane city clock struck five and people already started to bustle in from the rainy streets. The room felt electric. I couldn't have imagined it looking any more striking, with the portraits so large and powerful, the space so bold, and the music tranquil. Champagne flowed and conversation buzzed as each guest took a stroll around the gallery taking in each portrait and each story one by one. Gallery staff told me that there were more people there that night then they had ever seen at a single exhibition opening. Some cried. Most smiled. And a few needed another champagne. It was undeniably poignant.
My Scar Story started in 2010, during my year abroad, when my leg started hurting and weakening, until I couldn't walk anymore. I flew home, wheelchair bound, to a cancer diagnosis. I had a bone tumour in my right knee. By the age of 22 I was a cancer survivor with a 30cm scar running down my leg, the task of re-learning to walk ahead of me, and a shattered sense of self. I felt broken. And I focused all my pain, physical and emotional, on my scar. It weighed be down and I couldn't cope.
A psychologist told me to take some time to be with my scar. I didn’t just be with it. I decided to own it, by drawing on it a timeline of my journey. I posted a photo of it online, the bravest thing I had done, and it was liberating.
This was the birth of Scar Stories.
Over four years I have grown from feeling broken and defeated, to feeling powerful, interesting, and beautiful. Now, my mission is to help others feel the same.