Cancer survivor gives back to others through photography
Bonnie Korbely is preparing a special Christmas gift for her two children – framed photos celebrating her good health.
“I was diagnosed in November of last year with multiple myeloma, which is blood cancer,” she tells CTV News.
Korbely underwent four months of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in June. She was recently given the good news she’s in remission.
The pictures she’s gifting her kids were taken in October, but not in your typical setting.
“They had a Triumph motorcycle brought in, makeup artists, wardrobe artists – it was just a full team, full crew,” Korbely recalls. “I was supposed to be a special agent for the day and I felt just like that. It was a really, really incredible experience.”
The man behind the camera was photographer Ed Boulter. A cancer survivor himself, Boulter takes photos of those who are battling or have already beat the disease.
“One of my friends said ‘Hey, there’s this girl you know, Michelle, that I went to school with. She’s got cancer. You should take her picture,’ and I thought, yeah okay I’ll do that,” says Boulter.
Boulter says it’s easy for him to talk to people about cancer, helping break down the barrier between photographer and model.
“Michelle was in between chemo and radiation and she didn’t look good and she’d be the first to tell you,” Boulter says. “She had no hair, she was puffy, she had no eyebrows, she was bald, but she wanted to do it because she trusted me.”
Boulter likes to make each experience special and more than just a photoshoot.
“For a couple of hours on this afternoon, I don’t want you to think about cancer. I want you to feel like you’re a star and just have fun with it.”
Korbely says she feels strong and powerful when she looks at the photos.
“It was a very unique day and very heart touching to me because I’ve been through so much and for someone to open their heart so widely to give to someone else was just magical,” Korbely says.
For Boulter, it’s about a shared experience.
“I love it because it’s fun and I know how they feel.”