survivor stories: mary rose


Meet Mary Rose. A vibrant, strong, passionate fighter. Outspoken. Loud, even! But so, so full of life! I met Mary Rose at the salon and we hit if off instantly. She told me how she wanted to do a shoot and I quietly squealed and said, wait. I am actually working on a project about survivors and would love to photograph her. And so it was.

Mary Rose came to my house in the morning, nervous, excited and full of energy for her session. We talked about… everything. Life, death, kids, love, school, work. All of the things. She loved on my survivor, my little Mister Moo, with his one eye and his cat aids. I am not sure why, but seeing the two of them together snuggling hit me the hardest. These two survivors. So alive, so full of love to give to… everyone. This is what it is all about, I thought to myself. And Mary Rose, not even needing to hear what was in my head, or my heart, looked at me and smiled in agreement.

Here is Mary’s story, in her own words:

“What matters most is how well we walk through the fire.” That’s how I envisioned my journey with cancer, as a walk through fire, through Hell…and it pretty much was.

Although it was incredibly difficult, I made it through the fire, and I emerged scarred. At first I felt broken and less of a person. But I was wrong. You see, I won! I beat cancer. And I have the scars to show for it. I am a warrior. I fought the battle of my life and like a warrior, I have the scars from my fight.  I truly hope my scars never fade, for they are not a reminder of the pain or the cancer. They are a reminder of how strong I am and that I never gave up!

Being photographed and baring my scars was one of the most empowering things I have ever done. The experience let me take my life back, let me be MaryRose again, let me feel whole. I refuse to let the cancer define me and who I am. I am flawed, but I am awesome! I will be eternally grateful to Carla for giving me the precious gift of saying goodbye to cancer and hello to a future filled with unlimited possibilities!  

“Hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go” I have chosen to let go of the Hell!”


If you are a survivor and would be interested in being photographed please email me at so we can chat! If you know of someone who is a survivor, please share this with them!

  1. Linda says:

    WOW!!!! So much passion – so much bravery – so much heart – so much love! This is one beautiful amazing woman with depth of soul unwavering! She marched through her journey with the divine confidence of her own leader in her life! Carla – you are amazing! You capture in people what they dont even see! You are truly one special angel with a camera that come together as one! BEAUTIFUL! Thank you Mary Rose for sharing and thank you Carla for caring!

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