Mirror Mirror

By Sue Goulding (UK)

“I live in Durham in Uk with my husband and Labrador Ozzy.I have two grown up children. I have been an art student for 5 years with OCA ( Open College of Art). I belong also to a local community art group which I really enjoy . My approach is at the moment very experimental but I work in charcoal , pencils , watercolours and acrylics . Lately I am discovering contemporary art through my course work using combine methods. I recently retired from being a teacher for children with additional needs and an Area Senco in Newcastle Tyne and Wear.

I love to walk and explore my surrounding countryside in Durham this influences much of my art focus . I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago following a routine check. This was a complete shock to us all and an unrecognisable scary place. I had early Grade 1 cancer that had surprisingly spread to my lymphs. Following a ONC-DX test I was advised that chemotherapy was not recommended. A course of radiotherapy followed ,letrozole and infusions every six months. I have just received my first clear mammogram.

During the last year I continued with my art studies declaring loudly to all this BC is not going to define me as a person ! Last summer I submitted a series of five paintings with a poem I wrote while going through treatment . My faith , family and friendships have helped me to get through the last year along with my art .

I have just launched a coffee club in Durham for people whose lives have been touched by BC including carers. It was opened by the Mayor of Durham cutting the bra ribbon. I found that when I was diagnosed I had a great need for friendship with others whose lives had also been touched by BC. However although a lot of support in Newcastle city in Durham a city of 50.000 people there was only one registered group. This became a new passion of mine and my Bessie’s to do something about it. We now have a grant from Macmillan supporting us .

Our strap line is Uplift , Inspire and Be .

A year before my diagnosis my close friend found a tumour and has been in a two year journey of treatments . A close colleague died of BC a month before I was diagnosed . Many lives are being impacted by BC and the message of not being alone needs to be out there using all mediums of communication . That’s why I love this project and really enjoyed the Cambridge exhibition .

Often what we are feeling inside is beyond words and goes so much deeper into our very being and essence of who we are. My poem and paintings are an outcome of that inner voice .

I hope by sharing them someone will identify and be encouraged by them” .

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