Under the Red Dress

Beth Whaanga posted images of herself after breast cancer surgery on Facebook, hoping to share her story and urge others to take preventative measures. She posted the truth about what happens when a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and then hears the words, "You are BRCA2 positive.". It took courage & strength for her to create this campaign, to show the physical reality of breast cancer and of being a BRCA carrier to the world.

And some of her "friends" responded with hate.

She lost 100 facebook "friends" after she posted the images from her campaign. Their fear, their disgust, their lack of empathy is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable.

FTA: "Your scars are a physical or emotional representation of a trial you've been through," Whaanga told The Huffington Post in an email. "They show that you came through the trial and survived."

She teamed up with friend and photographer Nadia Masot to photograph her post-surgery body in a series of portraits called "Under The Red Dress."

"I really felt during the shoot I wanted to portray [Whaanga's] strength and resilience, but also have her vulnerability and pain come across," Masot told The Huffington Post in an email. "She was unafraid of me pointing the camera at her exposed body, scarred as it is. She was confident in sharing it with me, and I think that came across."

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I've spent the vast majority of my career in oncology. Not as an oncologist, but working to develop new oncolytics and consulting on cases from a R&D perspective; looking to pair drugs that are still in the lab & clinic with patients based on molecular signals. Throughout my career I have developed a rather tough exterior when it comes to cancer as it's a requirement of my profession. These images pushed through there and left me in tears.

Please share Beth Whaanga's campaign. Help her educate the populous on the realities of breast cancer and the BRCA genes. Help her strength reach those who need it, and embolden others who have and will wage this battle.

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GRAPHIC IMAGES AFTER THE JUMP

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