Seven’s Heroes – KTVB salutes women of the Reveal Mission
by Maggie O’Mara
Posted on October 27, 2014
BOISE — Photographer Chad Estes is on a mission to provide a revealing look at women who have battled breast cancer. By combining powerful and beautiful images with women’s stories, he provides an intimate and emotional glimpse into survivors’ experiences.
SHARING SURVIVORS’ STORIES
The Reveal Mission is an unforgettable art gallery located on the 2nd floor of the Boise State Student Union Building.
“Breast cancer is one of those things, there’s shame that can be attached to it,” said Estes, who collaborated with survivors and their families for the project. “How can we gently pull back the shame and allow people to reveal their scars, their hurts, their emotions of what they’ve gone through so they can experience healing and that’s why we call it the Reveal Mission.”
“The whole thing is for these participants is to take some control back of their lives and be able to share their story in a way that’s freeing and healing to them.”
17 women, brave enough to open up, take photos, and share their journeys of loss and triumph participated in the project.
One of the women lost her battle this year at the age of 40.
“Trina was in our first art show a couple of years ago,” said Estes. “She had recently finished all of her treatment, had reconstruction she had this great tattoo put on her shoulders of these angel’s wings and her warrior ribbon. She lived a very full wonderful life, but we did lose her this August.”
CLOSE TO HOME
Trina’s story hit close to home for Dannielle Nicolson. So much so, she wanted to be a part of Chad’s mission.
Danielle was in her late 30’s when she received the devastating diagnosis. She was in a new relationship when she got the news and warned her boyfriend that she had a mastectomy, reconstruction and chemo ahead of her.
“He has not missed a doctor’s appointment he was there for every surgery, managed my meds with a spreadsheet like the engineer that he is, he took care of me.”
That amazing man is now her husband. They were married when she finished treatment. It’s been a lesson of love for the whole family.
“I think that my boys and certainly his children are stronger, and they’re going to be more resilient and more grateful. Every day is a gift.”
Dannielle is an avid runner and decided to pose for the Reveal Mission with her running shoes.
“I remember laying in bed and not being able to move, because every cell in your body hurts, and just missing the ability to run and be strong.”
There was a special twist to Dannielle’s survival story. While undergoing reconstruction, she looked into getting areola tattoos and realized there was no one in our area was board certified for it.
So she went and got board certified to do the procedure herself. Now Danielle provides that option for other women in the Boise area.
THE REVEAL MISSION
Estes says the Reveal Mission is an intimate way for survivors to share their stories.
“I’m a story teller and I get the opportunity with these women to share their stories,” said Estes. “They don’t have anything to hide.”
His goal for people who see the work?
“That they would gain real empathy, that they wouldn’t see breast cancer as just another month to wear pink.”
Danielle hopes people who visit the gallery come away with a better understanding of what how cancer impacts lives.
“I would like for people to see what cancer does, and what it doesn’t have to do to you,” said Danielle. “These women are strong and they’re gorgeous and they are fighters.”
You can see the Reveal Mission at the Boise State Student Union Building from now until Friday, October 31. It’s free and open to the public.
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