Long Plains local, Tracy Starr, was transformed into a walking, talking piece of art last Thursday, lending herself as a canvas for body paint artist, Wendy Fantasia – nee Verner, formerly of the Mallala/Two Wells area – to be photographed for charity So Brave’s 2020 Breast Cancer Fundraiser calendar.
Each year, So Brave creates a captivating calendar featuring 12 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40.
They are transformed with body art and photographed in their surroundings for the annual fundraising publication.
The photographs depict the metamorphosis each young woman has gone through during their body paint photo shoot and breast cancer journey.
This will be So Brave’s fourth fundraising calendar, and will be launched in September.
Tracy, a breast cancer survivor, became involved in the fundraising effort after purchasing a calendar online.
“I saw they were looking for more volunteers so I registered my interest,” Tracy said.
“I was kind of in two minds about it to begin with but I thought, what have I got to lose? A bit of dignity?!” she laughed.
Tracy found she actually really enjoyed the experience as a whole.
“It was really good, a lot of fun…totally not what I expected,” she said.
“It really took me out of my comfort zone.
“Actually seeing it (the complete paint) and how it came together was unreal.”
Tracy was chauffeured around to a handful of different locations near Mallala and Two Wells to be photographed in different rural backgrounds.
“Once the painting was finished, we jumped in the car, rushed off for a photo in a paddock, then it was back in the car and off to a shearing shed for photos, and then back in the car again and off to the next place,” she laughed.
“It was a bit crazy!
“I can’t wait for the outcome,” she said.
Tracy was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38, and after treatment was given the ‘all clear’, however in a cruel twist of fate, the cancer came back almost five years later.
“It was a bit daunting when I was first diagnosed, but I said, I can do this, I’ve got it covered, let’s do it,” she said.
“I got on with the treatment and hoped everything would go well, and it did…and then it came back.
“That was a bit of a slap to the face, but the treatment is going well,” she said.
Tracy’s main motivation for wanting to be involved is to raise awareness that breast cancer can strike anyone, anytime.
“I want to raise awareness, especially in younger ladies,” she said.
As part of her role as So Brave Model Ambassador, Tracy, together with So Brave founder and CEO, Rachelle Panitz, visited Balaklava High School last Friday to talk to the Year 11 and 12 girls and boys.
“We need to start talking to the younger age groups.
“If they learn early, they can be more aware of things that can go on and changes to their bodies,” she said.
Tracy also held a bowls fundraising night at Owen Bowling Club on Friday night, raising $2707.40 on the night, and another $100 donation on Sunday, which will go towards cancer research.
She is also planning to host a movie event around the middle of the year.
Good on you Tracy, and we wish you all the very best with your treatment!
• Picture: Long Plains local, Tracy Starr, is painted by artist Wendy Fantasia, at a property near Mallala on Thursday March 14.