Breast Cancer Survivors Inspire Artwork

BRA Day 2013. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and The Plastic Surgery Foundation selected the third Wednesday of October as national BRA Day USA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day) to promote education and awareness of breast reconstruction options.

According to the sponsors, less than a quarter of the women undergoing breast cancer-related surgeries in the U.S. are fully aware of their breast reconstruction options or the quality of the surgical outcomes they can expect. The event, held at the Andy Warhol Museum, featured well known artists, who created works of art representing breast reconstruction. The “busts” were auctioned off at the end of the evening. More than $20,000 was raised for breast reconstruction awareness. Below are some photos of Jim’s crafting his “bust” and of the finished piece titled, Reflections of Me.

Artist Alix Paul was working on her sculpture, “Live in Vivid Color,” when she got the call that her friend had lost her battle with cancer.

“My piece is really colorful and bright, and I was thinking her personality is so colorful and so bright,” Paul said.


So she decided to dedicate it to her friend.

“We were so touched because we had been friends forever — our kids are the same age — and she’s a great artist, and it was really meaningful that she did that,” said the victim’s brother, Hal Waldman.

Eleven sculptures dedicated to women who fought cancer and underwent breast reconstruction are on display at Magee-Womens Hospital, UPMC Passavant and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

“You can see the head is terracotta, which is strong but very fragile, and you can see the brain is showing, because I think it’s a mental journey as much as a physical journey,” said artist Jim West, who spent a month working on “Reflections of Me.”

Each piece is unique and different, but one thing they all have in common is the artist said it was a journey to get to the finished product. Most artists were inspired by patients fighting breast cancer, but one woman was having her own battle.

“I am a two-time breast cancer survivor,” said artist Pat Miller, who underwent a double mastectomy. “It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t do reconstructive surgery. I can’t imagine walking around having to look at my body the way it was every day. To me, it was about to feel whole again.”

The sculptures will be on display until they’re auctioned off next month at the Andy Warhol Museum. The auction is part of a gala event at the museum on Nov. 6. Tickets are $50, with the proceeds used to fight breast cancer.

For more information, visit BraDayPittsburgh.org.