Julie Eberhardt, 18, was one of six young people from around the UK picked by CLIC Sargent, to take part in a photo shoot with superstar photographer Richard Young as part of its #NoFilter4Cancer awareness campaign.
Photographer Richard Young has taken pictures of superstars such as David Bowie, Joan Collins, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder but he has described his latest work to photograph a young cancer survivor from Wimbledon as his ‘most important.’
The photography is part of CLIC Sargent’s month-long awareness campaign called #NoFilter4Cancer which reveals the ‘hidden costs’ of cancer for young people in body image, self-care and mental health. These are issues which Julie has faced head-on herself.
Julie received the shock diagnosis of Lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin’s Large B-Cell) in September 2016 which she described as 'an immense shock'. She then began treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital and received support from a CLIC Sargent Social Worker, who provided practical, financial and emotional support.
This campaign is close to Julie’s heart as she was affected by body-image issues during her treatment and made the big decision to shave off her hair on her 18th birthday.
“I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me, I was feeling perfectly fine, but yet I had this life threatening illness, and if I had not noticed these small but significant symptoms I may not have had so much luck with the treatment and may not have been in remission this fast.”
When her birthday came along, she shaved her hair off, which she said was 'liberating' as she had finally accepted the fact that she was ill.
“I cut my hair because I couldn’t bear seeing my bed full of hair in the morning and seeing it falling off everywhere.
"My family and friends were also there, and I needed support as I had not imagined that it would be something that I would ever have to do. It was intense. I guess that it was more liberating than anything else as I had finally accepted the fact that I was sick.
"I lost a lot of confidence in myself as hair was one of my strong points in having confidence, and I went from losing weight to gaining twice as much.
"I still have scars from some of the operations, and will always have them. It is now what helps me get stronger more and more every day, as every time I see them, I think to myself that, if I got through cancer, I can get through anything.”
Now in remission, Julie is keen to give something back to the charity by raising awareness to help other young people.
"Having my photo taken by Richard made me feel special and boosted the confidence that I had lost. It also felt amazing to help raise awareness of this cruel disease that affects much more than people may know"
"I was so glad to take part in this. I think that helping raise awareness and participating in a campaign like this is the least I could do to give back after what I have been through. And I hope that it will help other patients feel hopeful and confident about themselves and their treatments"
Richard Young said: “Throughout my career I have photographed many celebrities, however this CLIC Sargent campaign has been by far the most important job of my photographic life”
Kate Lee, Chief Executive at CLIC Sargent, said: “Together with young people like Julie, we are exposing the hidden costs of cancer and talk about what life really looks like for them. This campaign gives young people the power to explore body image and mental health issues and tell it how it is, unfiltered.”
For more information, an interview or images, please contact Jack Wilson on 020 8752 2833 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of hours contact 08448 481189.
About cancer in children and young people
Today, 11 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk