Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made by the storms they walk through. From the pain, mistakes, and heartache we achieve pride and strength
Photos can capture the most important moments of our lives. One of the photoshoots which were held in Arkansas may be a reminder for us of how beautiful love can be while the most tragic times. Photographer Many Parks published photos of Charlie Johnson and Kelsey Johnson as Kelsey shaves his wife’s head.
Breast cancer is one of the first problems that women have to deal with. Infinite strength is needed to start the battle with this illness properly. Some people find this power by being alone, but others need loved ones by their side. Kelsey really is the one whose devotion should be trusted. Parks tells the journalists “we started talking about doing this photoshoot and I said, ‘Why don’t you be the one who takes your hair, not cancer?’ Luckily, Charlie had the same vision in her mind.” This idea came true and Kelsey was pictured while shaving off her wife’s blonde, curly hair.
Image credits: mandyparksphotography
Charlie is dressed in a pink dress, which can be symbolic. Even though she is getting ready for the battle, she still wears bright and happy colors. Charlie is sitting in front of the mirror elegantly, dressed in a princess dress accessorized with a gold ribbon cancer necklace and watching at her curls falling down. Then she puts on pink boxing gloves which may be the culmination of the photoshoot but the official start of the battle between Charlie and the breast cancer.
34 years old, a registered nurse from Arkansas, Gillham tells us the story of how she found out she had cancer: “I was the one who found the lump in my breast. Doctors assured me last April and they said that it was nothing to be panicked about, but it started hurting so much so I insisted to take it out. Two weeks after removal I went into my follow-up appointment with my surgeon. That was when he told me about my lump results, telling me I was now a 34-year-old with breast cancer.”
Charlie’s main goal was to empower other young women and inspire them to fight this killer illness without nodding their heads. Fear of losing hair may be terrifying and this photoshoot proves that it is just a start of the battle. Lots of scary things will be in the way of cancer, but nothing is worth of sadness and trauma. Charlie is so strong that she even found excitement in herself for this battle, between this mixed and messed up emotions. “I was excited and scared, all at the same time — for myself and my husband and kids,” she says.
This photoshoot was emotional not for Charlie but Kelsey too. Photos had clearly captured Kelsey’s fairs and pain. In one photo we can even see him crying and this moment is emotionally moving for everyone. The photographer Parks says that this photoshoot was hard for her too.
Parks who normally shoot wedding and graduation spreads never had this kind of experience before. “It was very emotional. Highly emotional. I had to take a lot of breaks and walk away,” she says “I was shooting her through a mirror most of the time. I kept giving her reassuring words. They were talking to one another the whole time, telling one another they love each other. It was pretty awesome.”
Kelsey and Charlie are the parents of three. 15, 13 and 10 years old children have been trying to save up some money by using the help of the campaign GoFundMe.
This photo shoot went viral on the internet as Parks published the photos and an emotional post. “It was so amazing — people are saying this reminds me of my mom, my sister, relatives who had gone through it,” Parks says. Lots of people started sharing their own stories and sent prayers for this amazing couple. This photoshoot was for everyone, who had been through this hard battle, who is going through it now and who is getting ready to start this fight. “I don’t know who needs to see this today. Or yesterday. Or someone you know might get this phone call tomorrow. Show them what strength looks like. Let them know they are not alone. Stand by them as they kick this like the warrior they are!” writes Parks on her Facebook page. She even thanks Johnsons for allowing her to capture these special moments.
Even though Charlie’s story is now known for thousands of people she still continues living her ordinary life, with her three amazing children and loving husband who are by her side every morning and every night. Charlie continues working at her night shift as a nurse, but she is willing to take one week off from the job. Charlie is blessed with so much positiveness around her. Parks says: “There is a lot of negative stuff out there, you know, and when you can see so much positivity — kind words and good words coming from people you don’t know… so much good has come out of this.”
Johnson’s goal is reached: they have shown the world how beautiful and exciting battle can be when you are surrounded by loved ones. Charlie has shown everyone that the strength can always be found even in the scariest moments of our lives. Parks writes on her Facebook page: “Strong women aren’t simply born. They are made by the storms they walkthrough. From the pain, mistakes, and heartache we achieve pride and strength.”