An artist battling cancer has come up with an inventive way of getting through her radiation treatment – by modifying her hospital gowns to make them into fashionable garments.
Allie Olson, 40, shared photos and videos of her Radiation Runway project as a way of staying positive and inspiring others going through similar treatment.
The artist, from Brooklyn, New York, first discovered a lump on her breast while in quarantine in May 2020, but after initially being told it was not cancerous, that diagnosis changed in September, after the pain persisted and a surgeon removed a lump of tissue.
Allie was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer that is treated as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
TNBC is an aggressive form of breast cancer with lower treatment options and a high reoccurrence rate, meaning Allie needed to start treatment as soon as possible.
During the pandemic, Allie, living alone in a Brooklyn apartment, went through 16 cycles of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and 30 sessions of radiation.
Her radiation sessions started in November 2021, and each session, Allie said, drained her of energy.
During her first radiation session, Allie had struggled to put a standard hospital gown on – but rather than be frustrated, she decided to see it as a creative challenge.
Allie modified her robe into a more fashionable design, and after a woman in the waiting room laughed and radiation therapists expressed their admiration, Radiation Runway was born – the name a humorous nod to Project Runway.
Between November 2 and January 7, 2022, when Allie completed her treatment, she would modify her gowns, taking photos and videos of the journey.
Allie shared these photos and videos on her social media pages along the way, with users from all over the world cheering her on.
She said: “Radiation Runway wouldn’t have been possible if the staff weren’t so encouraging.
“They loved it, and we had the best time making jokes and cracking up.
“They would video me during my runway walk and look forward to the new style each day.
“I never thought, This is weird; I thought, This is fun. Let’s keep having fun and laughing. It’s what everyone needs the most right now.
“I liked the challenge of using my creativity, but even more, I liked bringing a bit of joy and light into a difficult place and situation.
“Elba and my Radiation Therapists truly feel like family now. I am so grateful for them.”
Allie has now completed her treatment and is awaiting the all-clear from doctors. meanwhile, she has begun creating art again.
Story via T&T Creative Media