Cancer Support WA Photos

Rachel Kierath understands the power of a mother's love. She was prepared to die for her unborn baby. "As mothers we're designed to protect our children - and here I am having to decide between whether it's my life or my baby's life."

Just three years after losing her own mum to a long battle with breast cancer, Rachel was forced to face the disease again when she was diagnosed. "The diagnosis wasn't good because of my young age and the aggressive nature of the cancer and it was quite extensive"

Following surgery to remove her breast came what should be happy news she was pregnant but because of her cancer, the outlook wasn't good. "I sought a lot of advice and was essentially told I should terminate the pregnancy. And that particularly if I wished to survive I should absolutely not consider having the baby. It was an extraordinarily tough time but I just knew I couldn't terminate the pregnancy."

Against doctors' recommendations, Rachel refused chemo and radiotherapy, determined to win the fight for both their lives naturally with nutrition. Every morning, she would drink two hundred mils of wheatgrass. Convinced her strict routine was working, she kept going. And proud mum to a healthy baby boy a double miracle.

Today, Rachel is visiting Perth photographer Robbie Merrit to bare her body for a special cause. This photo of Rachel and Remy will feature alongside dozens of others in an upcoming exhibition to raise funds for Cancer Support WA, a not-for-profit help group.

Mandy says "Some of the portraits are very evocative, very beautiful 03.06 and some of them are a little confronting. But that's cancer" The association's Mandy BeckerKnox says the 'You Are Beautiful' exhibition is about sharing the stories of those facing cancer.

"So we've got people that are participating who have been through cancer and are well into survivorship, other people that are going through cancer now. We've also got carers."

Lisa Taylor has been surrounded by cancer for much of her life. As a child, she watched her dad battle the disease. Then as an adult, she nursed boyfriend Nick through brain cancer until he passed away two years ago.

"I think as a carer - you do so much for your loved one that you never really get time to do anything special for yourself" Until now. Today, Lisa's seeing her finished portrait for the first time.

Like Lisa's portrait, every photo will be powder-coated onto glass. Once the subjects each raise a thousand dollars in donations, they can keep it.

The goal is to raise one hundred thousand dollars to fund more support services, including WA's first twenty-four-hour cancer helpline. Rachel says "With my image I hope that it confronts people but in a powerful way to get involved and to offer their support"

Cancer Support WA is still looking for about 40 more people to be photographed.

For more details, or to sponsor a picture, visit: www.youarebeautiful.cancersupportwa.org.au

Cancer Support WA

info@cancersupportassociation.org.au

Tel (08) 9384 3544

Fax (08) 9384 6196

www.cancersupportwa.org.au