Virginia Mason Hosts Portrait Sessions for Patients and Survivors of Cancer

A selection of photos from the 2012 portrait session event.

In May, the Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason partnered with photography group NW Photo LENS (Learning, Education and Networking Society) and CoCo & Co. Hair Salon to provide free makeovers and professional portraits for patients and survivors of cancer. The event took place at the Baroness Hotel near the Seattle Main Campus.

The idea came from Earnie Glazener, who is a photographer with NW Photo LENS and also a cancer survivor. He worked with cancer coordinator Nancy Tyler and Meredith Kennedy, from the Section of Urology, to pull the event together at Virginia Mason. When Antonio Cejudo and Nathan Panuco, co-founders of CoCo & Co Salon, found out about the event, their team graciously decided to donate their time and services for makeovers. Giving back to the community is important to the salon’s team, and this was a perfect opportunity.

For some patients, it was an opportunity to celebrate their triumph over cancer, for others it was about getting a portrait with family and friends.

“One patient stated she wanted a reminder of perseverance, and that when she is going through a particularly hard time she wanted an image of her showing her strength,” explains Meredith Kennedy. “Another said she went through a period of not wanting photos and didn’t take the time to do her makeup because she did not feel confident after losing all of her hair. But, she was at the event with her family marking the end of her treatment.”

“My favorite part of the event is seeing patients transformed in the hair and makeup chair and feeling at ease in front of the camera,” says Nancy Tyler. “I would imagine for some patients, it’s something they cannot afford or would not choose to do when they’ve lost their hair, for example, during their cancer journey. However, given the opportunity, they rise to the occasion and document this milestone with their loved ones.”

The event even captured the attention of KING 5 News, Q13 Fox News and the Seattle Times. The news organizations spent a good deal of time documenting the special event and interviewing patients.

Special thanks goes out to Carol Gallagher and the Baroness Hotel staff, Sheila Hart and the cancer coordinators from the Cancer Institute, Mike Meany and Sean Berry from Parking and Commuter Services  and, of course, NW Photo LENS and CoCo & Co Salon.

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