About Amy & Cynthia
I define a “caregiver” as a family member, friend or anyone who steps forward to care for those diagnosed with breast cancer. Through research I know there are limited platforms by which caregivers have a voice. In my journey with Cynthia’s breast cancer, I often felt as though the role of the caregiver went unnoticed.
My intention in having created Caring For Cynthia is to acknowledge and validate caregivers. I believe this simple fact: caregivers change the course of the journey.
I am NOT an expert. There is no perfect way to deal with or handle breast cancer. Both the caregiver and the patient will experience a variety of complex emotional, physical, psychological and even financial issues during a journey. One book cannot address each human response to the multiple layers of complexities related to breast cancer. By sharing my stories in Caring For Cynthia, I hope to pave the way for others to share their stories so caregivers can network and unite amid all the uncertainties and vulnerabilities in a journey with cancer. Let’s learn from each others’ experiences and empower each other as we ongoingly support the well being of those diagnosed.
Of the breast cancer statistics compiled, no statistic includes the percentage of co-survivors associated with each diagnosis, one can only imagine the number of friends, family members and loved ones whose lives are changed by the diagnosis and the level of care required to adequately support their well being.
I created photographic images of Cynthia, my best friend, the day she was diagnosed. When Cynthia told me she had breast cancer - I didn't know what to expect, what to say or what to do... I wondered what happens now? I thought quietly to myself, is Cynthia going to live through this? I was scared and felt incredibly helpless despite my eighteen years of nursing experience.
This collaboration of Caring For Cynthia results in imagery that portrays what a journey with breast cancer can look like. Images reveal the caregiver’s perspective of milestone experiences with Cynthia's breast cancer. The imagery is coupled with text that imparts the caregiver's side of experiencing the unknown, the ups and downs, the pain, the vulnerability and the depth at which people will unite and support the survival of this cancer- all of which I consider to be the beauty and the blessings hidden in the darkness of cancer.
By providing first-hand experiences of breast cancer in Caring For Cynthia, I hope to inspire dialogue among healthcare professionals, patients and, most importantly, the caregiver(s).
The images and essays compiled in Caring For Cynthia are to be utilized as an educational tool by: - oncology clinicians - medical students - residents - healthcare providers - holistic practitioners - social workers - diagnostic procedure technicians - patient navigators - patient advocates - and, healing touch therapists
This book is intended for family, friends and community members who choose to support the well being of those diagnosed.
A camera explicitly, and sometimes unpredictably, records the emotions and surroundings that make up a brief moment in time. Once captured, the image is used to interpret this ephemeral moment. Whether we accept the reality it presents or whether we deny it, the revealing nature of photography allows us to feel the moment again and again.
When my best friend, Cynthia, and I learned she had breast cancer, we were in denial about the reality of the diagnosis. As we began to accept the diagnosis, we used photography as a medium to document our reality while, at the same time, escape it. In accepting breast cancer, we controlled how we reacted to it by becoming subjects of an educational documentary that would move, touch, and inspire others. We faced each emotional challenge with a steadfast acceptance, simply out of our promise to document that experience for others.
Each person's experience with breast cancer is personal. The images created during the year of Cynthia's cancer and treatment were captured through my perspective-that of the caregiver. My close relationship with Cynthia and my photographic style of capturing people simply being themselves will serve as a visual support for those patients and caregivers recently touched by cancer. It is my intention that the images inspire dialogue when moments of adversity or triumph surface, and that they serve as a platform from which one can begin to experience cancer.
In 2008, the Caring for Cynthia Website was recognized with a Silver ADDY Award from the Tucson Advertising Federation. Well-respected and recognized in the advertising industry, these prestigious accolades salute the industry's best and brightest through several awards and award programs, including the national ADDY Awards competition.
Amy Blackburn Author and Photographer of "Caring For Cynthia" | 4110 N. Camino Del Celador Drive | Tucson, Arizona 85718
Contact Amy directly at 520.991.5736
All photographs are copyrighted. It is illegal to save, reproduce or distribute these images in any way. For permission to use imagery, please contact Amy.