Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pink Sari Project - Raising Awareness for Breast Screening

It has been a privilege to be selected to work on the Pink Sari Project. I was surprised to hear that Indian and Sri Lankan women (aged 50-74) in NSW have one of the lowest rates of participation in the BreastScreen NSW program. The NSW Multicultural Health
Communication Service together with BreastScreen NSW and the Refugee Health Service are working hard to increase this statistic and the photographic exhibition that will be held later this year is one means of communicating this message.  The project is funded by the Cancer Institute of NSW.

The project has engaged ten photographers of Indian and Sri Lankan backgrounds to work with and take portraits of a breast cancer survivor from the subcontinent.  The objective of this project is to increase awareness of the low mammogram rates in the community and to share success stories that will empower Indian and Sri Lankan women to take charge of their health.

I’ve been paired with Maina Gordon, a breast cancer survivor who lives close to me. She has lived with MS for the past 20 years, been diagnosed with and survived breast cancer and undergone a bi-lateral mastectomy. Despite these set backs, I found a cheerful woman, who continues to contribute to society through her professional work as a solicitor and as a volunteer. Her story inspires me.

One of the images I shot was of Maina holding an item that helped her through the tough times. She has picked a book from the author Ekkhart Tolle. His book, The Power of Now is one that inspired me during a low time in my own life where I was searching for answers. This is only one of many similarities I found in Maina. We are only a few years apart, we come from the subcontinent, and we both have a passion to live life to the fullest!

An photographic exhibition of the images from this project will be launched in August. For now, all I can say is, if you are over fifty and have not had a mammogram, then it is time to do so!

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