Story posted October 03, 2008
A Bowdoin parent is turning her challenges with breast cancer into positive messages of hope, help and awareness, and is using her magazine — and a handful of folks from the Bowdoin community — to do it.
Coinciding with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Laurie Hyndman P'11, publisher and editor of Port City Life, devotes 16 pages of the October 2008 issue to raising awareness, offering resources and telling stories of survival — beginning with her own.
"Far too many of us are touched by this disease, and it's not just those who have the illness — our families, friends, and co-workers are affected, too," writes Hyndman in the special section's introduction.
Hawthorne-Longfellow Library is recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the exhibition Healing, Teaching... featuring artists' books by two Maine women — Martha Hall and Allison Cooke Brown — whose works are informed by their own breast cancer diagnoses.
The Healing, Teaching... exhibition can be found on the first floor at Hawthorne-Longfellow Library through October.
"The good news is that there are more of us who have endured and survived than ever before.
"And health professionals in Maine have access to all of the latest research and best thinking from around the world."
Work by A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences Susan Bell is among a compilation of developments in Maine in the fight against breast cancer.
Bell is studying how paintings, photographs, poetry and sculpture featuring women at all stages of breast cancer have helped shape the grassroots movement of breast cancer awareness.
"When a woman reveals herself in this way, it de-stigmatizes it, makes it public, confronts the cloak of silence, brings it into the open instead of hiding it," says Bell in the magazine.
Her research focuses on how that visibility has prompted changes in legislation, research funding, social activism and public discourse.
Take the now ubiquitous pink ribbon, for example. "Someone originally did that as art," Bell says. "And now it's become part of our landscape."
The special section mentions a project Anders Samuelson '12 completed as part of his senior project at Freeport High School.
Samuelson wrote about five Mainers who approached their cancer diagnoses with vows to stay active.
In the project titled "Cancer, Smancer. Let's Play," Samuelson wrote, "This ... is about real people who love to surf, paddle, run and ski, and who just happen to have cancer."
The section, comprising a series of articles written by freelance journalist Elisa Boxer-Cook '93, includes such topics as speaking with children about cancer, advice for families and caregivers, and complementary therapies.
"This was one of the most meaningful assignments I've taken on," says Boxer-Cook.
"The themes are universal — talking to kids about the difficult subjects, harnessing your body's healing potential, helping a struggling spouse. These women and their families have so much courage. I feel lucky to have been able to tell their stories."