Chad Estes gave me the beautiful gift of pre & post preventive double mastectomy photos. They are priceless to me, and I will forever treasure these images. The photos are very personal, intimate, and vulnerable. Having these photos to look back on through my healing process has helped tremendously. Chad is completely professional but also very warm, understanding, and reassuring. He has the kindest soul. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet him, work with him, and now call him a friend.
When my son was facing a terrifying medical diagnosis with no other treatment option but radical brain surgery, Chad gave our family the gift of his perceptive photography, which helped rally a huge team of caring souls to lift us through the arduous journey. This is one of my favorites, when Chad's camera caught James in a moment of carefree laughter. Chad uses his art to bring people together - even while facing some of life's most fearsome times. His visions give memories to treasure and foster hope for the future.
I followed the call to reach out to Chad and his wife Jamie of the Reveal Mission shortly before entering surgery for breast cancer. Chad’s style as a guide was gentle and uplifting and it felt like a gathering of old friends who rallied around for care and support. Chad cleared the way for me to find resolve and an inner strength that I had never known of myself before. The process of telling my story to Chad and Jamie was the very thing I needed and it pushed me through a time that was both unpredictable and scary. I am very proud for taking the opportunity to be a part of the Reveal Mission and the healing I received has been far more than I could have ever imagined.
I first heard about Chad's mission through his daughter Kona who suggested I go to his exhibit. I was going through treatment and the time and was so moved by what I saw. While I thought that my story was not as compelling as others because I was so fortunate in my circumstances to have avoided chemotherapy and mastectomy, Chad made me feel like my story mattered just as much. I have since recommended him to other survivors and they have also been moved by his compassion and the opportunity to chronicle their experiences.
My whole life changed after I was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer at the age of 35. During the time between diagnosis and starting treatment, my best friend asked if I wanted to have some photos done before I started chemotherapy. There was so much happening, so quickly and I would have never thought about having photos taken. If I’m honest, between multiple appointments, scans and mentally preparing for chemotherapy; taking photos was not the biggest priority for me. So, at the time, I wasn’t really sure why I wanted photos done but, I said “sure, why not?”
When my husband and I met with Chad and his wife, Jamie we were immediately drawn to how passionate they are in helping others. Chad did an amazing job at making us feel comfortable during the photo shoot. We laughed and we cried. I remember being so devastated about losing my hair and I remember Chad putting a lot thought and effort into capturing that exact moment for me. As the photos were being processed, I started chemotherapy and I started losing my physical identity.
What I didn’t realize at the time my photos were taken, was I would come to appreciate them more and more as chemotherapy and surgery began to take over my physical appearance. Throughout my journey, I began to realize how incredibly meaningful this opportunity was to me. My photos have been therapeutic, healing and uplifting for me. Sometimes I’m sad and I cry because I don’t recognize myself anymore. But, more often, I am reminded at how strong I am and how much I have grown in my journey. I will forever be grateful for this experience, our friendship and being a part of The Reveal Mission.