A real superhero
Josie Caruso Sethi, Sp ’77, is pretty in pink and strong as steel.
Josie Caruso Sethi earned the nickname “The Pink Crusader.” Her latest crusade is The Faces Behind Breast Cancer, a book that combines the inspirational stories of 79 male and female breast cancer survivors with stunning black-and-white portraits.
The cause is personal. Sethi, a writer and producer, was diagnosed with a rare and non-curable form of breast cancer in 2003. While undergoing treatment, she met other survivors and realized they all had stories to tell. “We wanted to humanize the disease, make it tangible and take away the mystery, because the mystery feeds the fear,” Sethi says.
The book features survivors alone and with loved ones, bald and with hair, clothed and with their scarred chests bared. Award-winning fashion photographer Jack Opatrany shot the dramatic portraits. While most books about cancer focus on the clinical aspects of the disease, Sethi wanted to celebrate the beauty of survivors. For breast cancer patients, all too often “the mirror becomes the enemy,” she says, “and we need to recognize and honor the beauty of the human spirit.”
Sethi had no trouble finding participants. “They chose me,” she says. “The project sold itself because every participant felt the need to share and give back.” Along the way, Sethi fought her own physical battles with chemotherapy, radiation and a bilateral mastectomy. “They gave me hope and the courage to keep going,” she says of the book’s participants. “Now the book will offer hope and encouragement to others who travel the same journey.”
The book’s proceeds go to cancer research and programs. For information, go to the Pink Crusader.