It was a suggestion that would send most women running for the nearest door. However, when Peggie Sherry, founder of Faces of Courage introduced the wild idea of having breast cancer survivors photographed in full body paint for a hardcover book, women lined up to volunteer.
"I was the first in line," said Linn Lustig of Brandon, a breast cancer and lymphoma survivor. "I'm an old hippy. I used to do a lot of face-painting. So this was right up my alley."
Dr. Howard Kahen is a New Port Richey radiologist.
"The painting helps them feel beautiful," said Kahen, president of the board of directors of Faces of Courage. "It's a way to honor these women who have been through so much. And, in turn, what they are doing inspires us. It's rewarding to see so many women who appreciate life."
Formed eight years ago by Sherry, a two-time breast cancer survivor, Faces of Courage is a Tampa Bay nonprofit organization that offers free camps and events for women and children with cancer.
At the suggestion of body-painting artist Lorrin Wagner of Valrico, Sherry broached the idea of the body-painting session at the annual Cancer Retreat for Women Sept. 7-9 at Rotary's Camp Florida in Brandon, attended by 76 women.
"We're always looking for new ways to raise funds for our camps, which are free to the participants," explained Sherry. "I loved Lorrin's idea of getting together a group of artists and models for a weekend body-painting session. But I wasn't sure if I'd get any volunteers."
For more about the response to the body-painting session Sept. 22-23, in a Brandon storefront with windows discreetly covered in pink curtains; the volunteer body-painting artists; and the cancer survivor models who shared their stories, see Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life With Body Art, reported and written by D'Ann White, editor of the Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch.
All 18 models were photographed in full body paint for the book, which will debut May 10 at Faces of Courage's annual Boobalishess Fashion Show. All proceeds will help send cancer survivors to camp.
Sherry is now looking for a publisher and sponsors for the book. Those interested in helping can reach her at 813-988-2267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org