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Arkansas photographer behind the popular photo shoot who is battling her own breast cancer

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Little Rock, Arkansas – The photographer who captured the world-famous picture shoot of an Arkansas couple battling breast cancer is now waging her own war.

The stirring picture session in 2019 featured the Gillham couple, Charlie Johnson and her husband Kelsey, as she prepared for her battle with breast cancer and during the heartbreaking time her husband chopped off her hair.

Mandy Parks, the photographer who took the pictures, says she is still in awe of the reaction.

“So these women they were just commenting you know, their story, their grandma’s story, their sister’s story, and I’ve never seen that big of a group of women, it’s just total support and love,” Park said.

Three years later, the post is still making waves online. For those who have been following the couple’s journey, Parks has good news: Charlie is in remission.

“They’re doing great! Yeah, she’s doing awesome,” Parks said.

At the time, parks wrote on her Facebook page, “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!”

Parks had no idea how important this message would be to her personally this year.

She went to the doctor for a soreness under her arm less than six months ago at the advice of a friend who was battling breast cancer.

“I did my mammogram, my ultrasound, and my biopsy within two days and within four days I found out that I had invasive lobular carcinoma,” Parks said.

A breast cancer diagnosis would require a double mastectomy.

“And then after my double mastectomy, we found out that I had invasive lobular carcinoma and ductal carcinoma. I had them both on the same side,” she said.

She is currently using hormone therapy to combat cancer orally. Her outlook is favorable.

She made the decision to launch a second potent breast cancer shot after having her mastectomy. Another self-portrait this time. Parks claims she wants to support other women who are fighting and aid others who wish to see the untainted beauty in the arduous road.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to tell these women how beautiful they were when I was really, really dealing with some issues myself. And that photoshoot healed,” Parks said. “It was overnight. Overnight I was proud of myself. I mean just taking the pictures. I didn’t know if I was going to post them, and I just did.”

The same online group that supported Charlie now applauds Mandy for her bravery.

Her advice to ladies is to pay attention to their bodies and be conscious.

“Just go get checked. Just don’t even question it. Make the appointment and go get checked,” Parks said.

 

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