Portraits of 16 girls residing with secondary breast most cancers type a strong pictures exhibition as a part of a marketing campaign calling for an enchancment to most cancers providers in Northern Ireland.

According to Cancer Research UK, secondary breast most cancers – also called metastatic breast most cancers – signifies that a breast most cancers has unfold to a different a part of the physique. Secondary breast most cancers can now not be cured.

In the ‘Seen to be Heard’ exhibition, proficient photographer Jennifer Willis has captured uncooked and emotional portraits of 16 girls as they naked the scars of residing with secondary breast most cancers.

Initially strangers, these girls are actually pals united of their ardour and objective in looking for to be seen and heard to impact change in most cancers care providers and therapy of these recognized with secondary breast most cancers.

On Wednesday, March 16, the group of girls, accompanied by Jennifer, offered their ‘Seen to be Heard’ marketing campaign manifesto to the chairperson and members of the Health Committee and elected representatives at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

With the marketing campaign, the group are advocating that everybody affected by secondary breast most cancers in Northern Ireland ought to:

• Be included in a scientific audit of secondary breast most cancers;

• Be supported for assessments and entry to scientific trials presently obtainable within the UK;

• Have entry to the identical vary of medication and coverings obtainable in different areas of the UK;

• Have entry to specialist nurses with experience in secondary breast most cancers throughout all 5 well being care trusts in Northern Ireland; and

• Have entry to high quality, well timed, equitable and person-centred care.

Enniskillen-based artistic adviser, artist, curator, arts and human rights activist Noelle McAlinden – herself a most cancers survivor (see panel, proper) – stood in solidarity with these girls, displaying her assist for the marketing campaign.

She mentioned: “It was a privilege to assist facilitate the return to Stormont and to assist these women in delivering their message and their manifesto so thatthey are seen and heard.

“It was a chance to introduce Jennifer and her presentation.

“Her dedication and dedication, in addition to compassion, has been the catalyst for ongoing advocacy and that has advanced from her transferring, inspiring and arresting pictures in her upcoming solo exhibition which is able to characteristic on April 28 at Belfast Exposed,” added Noelle, who’s curating and facilitating Jennifer’s solo pictures exhibition, which incorporates 32 portraits of the 16 girls.


During the presentation at Stormont, three of the 16 girls featured within the exhibition, Cheryl Graham, Helen McHarvey and Julie A. Lillis, participated as spokeswomen on behalf of the group.

In the group’s manifesto, it explains that ‘Seen to be Heard’ is an invite, a provocation, a name to motion to impact change within the provision of providers obtainable to these residing with incurable secondary breast most cancers.

“We are a bunch of girls residing with the life-limiting illness, secondary breast most cancers,” a spokeswoman for the group mentioned. “We are united with objective and keenness to advocate for improved providers, particularly for these residing with secondary breast most cancers, which don’t presently exist in Northern Ireland.

“The Northern Ireland Cancer Strategy 2021-2031 states a resolve to offer ‘equitable and well timed entry to the best, evidence-based referral, analysis, therapy, assist and person-centred most cancers care’.

“However, our affected person voice for secondary breast most cancers providers will not be current in [the] Cancer Strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Speaking about attending Stormont, Noelle mentioned: “It was a day of highly effective feelings, pleasure, laughter, worry, tears, anxiousness, celebration, frustration and dignity. Women supporting girls residing with secondary breast most cancers, standing in solidarity at Stormont.

“’Seen to be Heard’ isn’t just an exhibition, however an invite, a provocation, a name to motion for improved most cancers providers and assist for these residing with a secondary breast most cancers analysis, delivered with compassion throughout Northern Ireland.

“It is a plea, an ultimatum to the Health Minister and to the Department of Health and to our elected representatives.”

Fermanagh lady’s assist

Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, Enniskillen lady Noelle McAlinden talked about her personal private most cancers journey, and her ardour for supporting the decision for improved most cancers providers to assist girls in Fermanagh and all throughout Northern Ireland.

“As I mirror on these women, I’ve realised that it’s been six years this week since my very own surgical procedure for cervical most cancers. I take nothing with no consideration; I’m not naive.

“Like many, I’ve have misplaced household and pals, and I’m acutely aware that there are such a lot of others who’re residing with most cancers and are going through challenges in accessing therapy, providers and assist – it’s heartbreaking.

“It’s been a privilege in attending to know Jennifer Willis, a gifted photographer and compassionate good friend.

“Supporting her in her upcoming solo exhibition and attending to know these women has been each a privilege, enlightening but in addition heartbreaking with what they’ve gone via.

“It makes me much more decided. We want a well being service and a most cancers technique that’s match for objective, delivered with compassion and empathy.

“This has been probably the most vital life-affirming expertise, exhibition, arts advocacy and activism that I’ve ever been concerned with, up to now.

“I’m very grateful to Jennifer and to all of those women and to Julia Darcy for introducing me to Jennifer, one in every of life’s guardians.”

The photographer’s view

Award-winning and multi-talented photographer Jennifer Willis, who’s on the Council of the Irish Photographic Federation, was eager to assist assist the mission in a bid to assist different girls, as she explains. “I’ve 15 pals who’ve terminal/secondary breast most cancers. The thought was to lift consciousness and to seize the terrible worth via the lens that they pay each bodily and emotionally for his or her life-extending therapy.

“It is probably going too late for any of those girls to learn, besides within the data that they are going to see that by baring their our bodies, that there isn’t a excuse for any younger lady coming after them to need to expertise what they’ve within the well being care system.”

Donating and assist

If you might be residing with secondary breast most cancers and require assist, go to Macmillan Cancer Support at www.macmillan.org.uk. There are additionally many native charities that present assist for these residing with a most cancers analysis, together with SWELL (Supported We Live Life), and Cancer Connect NI.

If you want to assist the ‘Seen to be Heard’ marketing campaign and exhibition, giving voice to NI girls with secondary (metastatic) breast most cancers, you are able to do so by way of the JustGiving web page hosted by Jennifer Willis, at https://tinyurl.com/2p8m3bn5.


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By Seth A. Dunbar

Seth Dunbar leads clinical research study operations and quality & compliance. He is experienced working with teams to help drug sponsors better leverage eSource data. With 10+ years of experience Seth brings expertise developing eClinical services that integrate data and technology to help companies optimise study execution.

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