Bob Carey’s wife, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago, but the cancer returned in 2006. It is incurable. Bob decided that fighting his wife’s cancer would be the most important task in his life. He set himself on a mission to make her laugh.
To cheer his wife, Bob, a photographer, travels the world, snapping photos of himself in the pink tutu. He not only does it to make her laugh, but also uses the pink tutu to help cope with his wife’s chemotherapy treatments. Linda says seeing pictures of her husband dancing in a pink tutu makes her laugh.
“It just makes me laugh, to see my husband dancing around in a tutu,” Linda says in a YouTube video about her husband’s project. “It helps me be positive. The more I laugh, the better I feel.” She saves the photos on her phone and shares them with other women.
The Tutu Project was started by Bob in 2003, as a way to spread laughter to other women who are also fighting breast cancer. Through the sales of his photos of himself in the pink tutu, he and Linda were able to self-publish the photos in a collection called Ballerina. Many people have been inspired by Bob and his message that laughter does make everything better. The man in the pink tutu definitely does cheer his wife with breast cancer.
Through the sales of Ballerina, Linda uses the funds for The Carey Foundation, which started in 2012, to help other women with breast cancer cope with things not covered by health insurance, such as transportation to and from treatments, wigs, medical supplies, counseling and home care assistance. Every $1,000 raised from the sales of Ballerina goes toward helping these woman fighting breast cancer. The Careys have also received corporate donations for their mission.
On the Tutu Project website, Bob says:
“During these past nine years, I’ve been in awe of her power, her beauty, and her spirit. Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”
Women and Breast Cancer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the U.S. In 2010, approximately 207,000 women were diagnosed with the disease, of which approximately 40,000 women died. This is a high statistic, which makes the issue of prevention and regular checkups all the more important.
Black women have a higher death rate from breast cancer, due to fewer services and resources available to them. Forty percent of black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Across all races and ethnicities, black women are the ones who suffer the highest mortality rate from breast cancer. They are less likely to follow up if they have a mammogram that requires another look, and they are less able to obtain high-quality treatment for breast cancer.
To help decrease the risk of developing breast cancer, it is imperative to get regular mammograms and become familiar with family history of breast cancer. The CDC offers low-cost or free mammograms for underserved women.
By Juana Poareo