Submitted by Chuck Williams Photography
Several weeks ago, we were contacted by Tracy. As Tracy and I spoke over the phone, she explained to me that she had recently been diagnosed with a very, very aggressive form of breast cancer called Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Tracy explained that she has never really been the type of person to want pictures of herself. She is single, in her 40’s and has no children. She lost her mother to breast cancer when her mother was only 47 years old…..and now Tracy feels like she’s reliving her mother’s nightmare.
Cancer infiltrated Tracy’s life even before her mother’s death. In 1993, Tracy lost her fiance’ to lung cancer. Although Tracy has no children, she has several neices and nephews whom she absolutely adores, and so she decided that “there’s no time like the present” to have pictures made.
Tracy is currently undergoing a rigorous schedule of chemotherapy. She just finished her first treatment and was told that she will probably begin to lose her hair this week. When she called, she said, “i want to have some pictures done before all of my hair is gone”. So we worked her in quickly and photographed her this morning. When she arrived, she told me “i’m so glad you got me in today, because my hair just began falling out”. She is scheduled to have her head shaved this coming Friday. When she finishes the chemo, she is scheduled for surgery and will undergo a double mastectomy.
When Tracy arrived at the studio, she was so friendly, happy and full of life. You would have never guessed in a million years, the burdeon she’s carrying on her shoulders. I asked her to bring several changes of clothing and anything she had that represented what she is going through. She came up with some amazing things — a gorgeous breast cancer quilt made by a friend, a beautiful angel night light, an adorable stuffed Lion that a friend gave her, a gorgeous cross and some awesome pink boas! The Lion’s name is “Courage”….and gives her courage and hope.
As we began her photo session, we talked about the cancer. We talked about all the wonderful things that have happened to her since she was diagnosed…..of the wonderful people she’s met….of the countless and caring individuals who have reached out to her. We talked about how sometimes the hardest times in life can be the most amazing.
As Tracy and I chatted, I asked her about her life and the more we talked, the more I realized…..”Tracy is an amazingly, wonderful, giving person”. In her professional life, Tracy is an account manager for a Logistics Company in Alpharetta called PBD Worldwide. She is a graduate of Georgia Tech and loves TECH. She also loves to travel and loves “all things sports”. Her friends, family, her employer, her co-workers and her church are the important things in her life. She attends “His Hands” Church in Woodstock.
In her spare time, Tracy “gives back”. She is an 11 year volunteer with the Cherokee County Miracle League. The Cherokee County Miracle League, a division of the North Metro Miracle League (NMML), is dedicated to the idea that every child, every adult, deserves to be acknowledged, honored and included. The league provides a baseball program for children and adults with special needs. Through adapted sports and inclusive social programs, these children, teens and adults are given the opportunity to experience playing baseball together so that barriers to friendship and opportunity are removed.
As a result everyone plays and is able to experience things that should be a normal part of every person’s growth and development.
As League Coordinator, Tracy loves volunteering. She told me stories of the amazing kids she has met — many with cyctic fibrosis, autism, downs syndrome, heart conditions, even a player who is completely blind. She talks of their strength, and their courage…..and then as she reflects on the hand that life just dealt her of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, she says “These kids and adults are my inspiration. They are all dealing with life long disabilities….I am lucky to have lived a healthy life until now and if they can deal with all that they have, I can certainly deal with this”.
I asked Tracy about her diagnosis. I asked her how they found the breast cancer. “Through a regular, routine mamogram” was her answer. Then she went on to say “You know Beverly, I have friends now who ask me what they can do to help me through this. And everytime they ask, my answer is the same….’Go get a mamogram’ “.
So, if you’ve still with me and are still reading this, maybe you can see why I said in the beginning of this blog that I am blessed by the people I have met through volunteering my time and photography through organizations such as Shoots for A Cure — It’s because I get to meet people like Tracy. Someone who lives life to the fullest — she is truly the epitome of “When life gives you lemons…make lemonade”.
Tracy, it was MY PLEASURE to meet you! Thank you for the lessons you taught me today. May God wrap his arms around you and walk with you as you embark upon this journey in life. I will be praying for you….
Chuck Williams Photography