Magdalena Rdest-Novak is a resident of Skierniewice, Mazovia. As he says about himself – everywhere. This year, he was awarded by Mayor Per Skierniewic for his selfless help to others. The award is given annually to people who work to “strengthen social inclusion.”
Two years ago, the photographer created a social campaign with the participation of women battling breast cancer. He wanted to show women after illness and disease – somehow, the symbol of the action was white shirts that women should wear. The pictures were supposed to be taken in the center of Skierniewice, but the pandemic was starting and the project had to be postponed so that no one would be exposed to a coronavirus infection.
– In 2020, the project will be launched only as an organization. We didn’t finish the photo shoot because it was scheduled for April and May, but – as you know – the pandemic blocked us in March, Magda says. According to the idea in his mind, the project was to involve 30 residents of Skierniewice, and the photos were to be presented in a special exhibition at the local Center of Culture and Arts.
Ms. Magda blew up information on social media that she was planning a social action, with the aim of encouraging women to undergo preventive examinations. Ask Skierniewice residents who are battling cancer for information. – Our interviewee remembers that suddenly, in 24 hours, I was very surprised when more than 500 women from all over Poland came to me, and they also wanted to take part in my session. It turned out that the residents of Skierniewice gave the photographer’s request even more – to groups of patients with breast cancer. And so it turned out.
The project returns after a two-year pandemic. The first photos will start on April 30. Ms. Magda wants to show that being a sick person does not destroy the femininity of patients. Illness is not sitting at home, worrying, not looking after yourself. It is during the illness that many women take action. – I want to convey to healthy people that if a fashionable, beautiful woman does not allow us to sit on the bus, we should not judge her. Because maybe he is sick, he feels bad – says the photographer. And he adds that each of us must remember that appearances are often thought-provoking.
A few weeks ago, when a decision was made to implement the project, war broke out in Ukraine. – Time is not favorable for us, but it is based on the assumption – despite the shadow of the war – life goes on, the disease does not choose. Sick people have to deal with their problems. Therefore, in spite of everything, we are moving forward and moving, says Magda.
One of the women who decided to take part in the action was Anna Piat-Bredu. – In 2018, when my children were 6 and 10 years old, I fell ill. At that time, I worked hard as a judge. Now I am resting due to illness and long-term effects. I dedicate my time to my family and my passions, but I also take part in helping other patients, ”he says.
– This is a very important project. First of all, because we – the women who are fighting or fighting the disease – are so many. Second, we face misunderstandings. Breast cancer patients are portrayed in the media as women in headscarves, thin, naughty, and as if “already on the opposite side.” Not at all. Many chemotherapy women work hard to be attractive, to take care of themselves, to wear wigs, to wear false eyelashes, to paint their eyebrows, and sometimes to wear permanent makeup. We want healthy people to understand that, says Piat-Bredow.
– The aim of the project is to show that our disease is not a choice and can affect everyone. It does not matter, rich, poor, thin, fat, red, bald – adds another patient Anna Sucekka. – We want to change the attitude to people suffering from cancer. Women who fight cancer during and after treatment look normal like thousands of women. We try to live a normal life – adds our interlocutor.
“The project is our partner – me and my girlfriends”
– Implementing the idea of a photo session with patients is an amazing experience for me. Because girls could give energy to a million healthy people sitting at home complaining. Girls want to live so much that I am very impressed. I stopped saying that this was my project. The project is common to us – to me and my girlfriends – says Rdest-Novak with emotion.
Due to the great interest of breast cancer patients, the photographer decided to expand the campaign. The photos will be taken not only in Skierniewice, but also in other cities, including Vrochav and Poznan. On the main streets for everyone to see.
“Why am I going to participate? Because this is a wonderful project that will show that we can live a normal life with cancer and want to live! This project will help tame the disease, raise people’s awareness of cancer and give hope to more than one person. – This is the introduction of one of the project participants.
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. In 2020, about 20 thousand. Polish women have heard such a diagnosis. Importantly, early detection cancer can be treated and the disease can last for many years. It is important to check yourself regularly and pay attention to prevention.