Sun & Skin News

Through the Lens: Six Melanoma Survivors Share Their Stories

By Victoria Silecchia • May 12, 2017
melanoma-survivor-story

Tia Costello was eight months pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with melanoma. “I was angry. I screamed into the pillow multiple times and I felt my baby inside me start to move,” she recalls. “I knew she felt the panic inside. I was scared and I feared for her too.”

As a way to channel her pain and begin the healing process, the Austin-based photographer set out to tell the story of six different women who had coped with the disease.  Her goal for the photo project: “Before I was diagnosed, I really had no idea this cancer happened to young people. I thought it was a cancer that developed in the later stages of life. But in reaching out to support groups, while trying to emotionally heal myself, I realized this was a cancer that affects people of ALL ages, and so many in their 20s and 30s.   I wanted to share that with as many people as possible.”

Throughout her treatment, Tia leaned on her faith and social networks. She was first introduced to the women featured in her project through Facebook. “Finding the women for the project was unfortunately easier than I thought.  I say unfortunately because it’s upsetting for me to think of how many people are diagnosed with this cancer. I posted on a local Facebook group that I was looking for melanoma survivors for a personal photography project.  Right off the bat, I had quite a few volunteers.”

Not only has the project been therapeutic for its creator and the women featured in it, but the photos have also had a profound effect on those who have seen it.  “Numerous people have messaged me, thanking me for sharing the video,” Tia explains.  “I have even had six people tell me that they went for skin exams after seeing it (and actually had moles removed). A few others have decided to see a dermatologist regularly. I feel like, with just that response alone, I am at peace with it all.”

 

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