Pirate Crew Collection helps women navigate Breast Cancer treatment
As a child, artist Erin Ferrell loved to make and play with paper dolls. Now she is making dolls like Ms. Mastectomy and Ms. Chemotherapy that help patients navigate life through and after breast cancer. Your donation today will make the Pirate Crew Paper Dolls a reality.
PORTLAND, Maine — Erin McGee Ferrell is an artist who is using her art to help others who are also battling breast cancer.
She started a project called Pirate Crew Paper Dolls Collection featuring dolls like Ms. Mastectomy and Ms. Chemotherapy.
As a child, Erin loved to make and play with paper dolls, a love that was rekindled after her mastectomy. After her surgery, Erin was eager to get back to her art studio but unable to raise her arms higher than her shoulders or lift more than a pound made it difficult.
"I was limited so I got out small brushes and little bottles of ink and paper dolls were what came out of it," says Erin.
Her childhood hobby turned into dolls that represent her life's fight and hopefully can help patients navigate life through and after breast cancer.
"They are people who are scared, tattooed, with lopped off pieces. And if they get a little bit nauseous, they're kind of dizzy with the sickness of seasickness, the chemo, and medication, but because of that also become resilient and fierce," Erin says describing her creations.
Erin foresees a practical use for her dolls as a way to show patients what to expect and guide them through the complicated process of fighting breast cancer. Her goal is to have the paper dolls in production in one year.
"This is something that is not out there," Erin says other breast cancer survivors have said they want a paper doll series that is also a breast cancer education series.
Erin is raising money to present her project at the 2020 Breast Cancer Conference, Sylvester Cancer Center University of Miami.
More about Erin and her diagnosis:
In 2018, I conducted an art and cancer research project funded by the State of Maine Arts Commission.
Shortly after completing the project, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. My colleagues became my doctors.
As a patient, I have gained an entirely new perspective of the what a newly diagnosed women with breast cancer needs. I was handed a thick tabletop book on navigating my journey through breast cancer. Initially, I experienced fog-like concussion helmet that stayed on my head for 2 months. This is an actual condition, referred to as INFORMATION AVERSION or THE OSTRICH EFFECT.
What I needed in my shock and mental fog was Ms.Mastectomy. I just needed something simple, an easy reference. The Pirate Crew Paper Dolls Collection meets this need - it is easy to understand, has visual aids of all the pre and post accessories and surgery preparation items.
Poem: Pirate Crew
Thank you all who have lived to tell the tale
You bedraggled crew of people with missing parts
lopped off by voyages into the unknown
walked the plank into dark waters
fed chemo and now wear scarf
talking around grog of the sickness of sway
now gathering on the island having landed safe
yet tougher and tattooed
I am now conscripted to this pirate crew
my initiation day drawing nigh
EMF Dec 9, 2018
Photos by Peter Guyton Video by NBC Maine Buddy to Buddy
Risks and challenges
This project will be undertaken while I am a Breast Cancer patient. I will be going through surgery for a double Mastectomy. Afterwards, I will be receiving Five months of Chemotherapy, 6 weeks of Radiation and then I will have my Ovaries Removed. With the support of my husband, family and friends - I am determined to create easy visual aids for women who have to navigate through this journey.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)