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Cancer survivors in Gloucestershire join photographic 100 project

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

  • Eloise Hopkins

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Former cancer patients from Gloucester are to feature in a photographic project aiming to break down barriers surrounding the disease.

Graphic designer Naomi Turner and programmer Hywel Jenkins, are on a mission to photograph 100 people who have beaten cancer.

They want to raise awareness that cancer is indiscriminate and can affect anyone, while raising money for cancer charities, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, MacMillan Cancer Support, and Maggie’s Centres.

Over the past few years cancer has affected them both, so they’re using the skills they have to develop The 100 Project.

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They currently have 87 portraits in the bag and want more people to come forward.

Welshman Hywel’s dad Geoffrey, passed away from a bone marrow cancer – myeloma – last year.

And in a double whammy, Hywel’s partner Mary-Jane Sweeting, 37, was diagnosed with a blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and has been clear for two years.

Naomi, 29, managing director at Pink Sky, a graphic design and brand communication agency, from Leckhampton, has a number of friends who have been affected by cancer and her mother in law passed away from leukaemia a number of years ago.

She said: “We wanted to show that people who have cancer are just like you and me. We are trying to break down barriers and get people talking about it.”

Since they started in October last year, the two have photographed people in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Kent, Caerleon, Cardiff, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire.

Interest has come in from all over the UK, and from as far afield as Vancouver, San Francisco, Chicago, Stockholm, and Sydney.

Eloise Hopkins, from Gloucester, was diagnosed with breast cancer when her daughter was just six months old.

She said: “One of the most difficult things to come out of the diagnosis was being told that I had to stop breast feeding my daughter, before either of us were ready.

“Going through two lots of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy was incredibly difficult with such a young family to care for.

“I remember being so grateful that I had my children and didn’t have to consider fertility issues after the treatment but at the same time, wishing I could put my children into stasis until I was through the worst of it.”

Maureen Rowcliffe-Quarry, from Brockworth beat cancer 14 years ago.

She said: “Once you know what you are up against you can work out how you are going to approach it and I got through it with the support of wonderful friends and family.

“There were unexpected joys in the middle of the difficulties – it felt like for the first time I was seeing the world with new eyes.”

Hywel, 43, said: “When we visit places that require us to travel, such as London, we arrange to meet a few people on the same day, or we combine such visits with business trips.

“We’re meeting all of the expenses ourselves, so, unfortunately, that limits how far we can travel.

“Having been affected in the most awful way I’m determined to make a difference, however small.

“At some point the amount of money needed to make the breakthrough may be small, so if The 100 Project can fill that gap, then, with the help of so many people, we’ll have made a huge difference.”

The friends’ next step is to explore how top open up the project to people from all over the world. Visit the100project.net

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