KAWARTHA LAKES- Brenda Benedet says all of her life experiences have led her to her current quest: improving people’s knowledge of the signs of breast cancer for the earliest detection possible.
Brenda was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast cancer in 2017. During her long patient journey, she found that art therapy fed her creativity and kept the fear away. She soon discovered her art passion: wool painting. Having lived through breast cancer, Brenda feels that with better knowledge, patients can focus on their care and treatment decisions, and not spend their time interpreting complex terms and healthcare myths.
“It goes beyond lumps,” said Brenda. “People tell themselves that the change in their breasts can’t be breast cancer because it doesn’t run in their family, or they’re too young. It’s not true. With any change, people need to get checked. And not just women. Men and trans women are also at risk.”
Brenda’s exhibition, Breast In Show, combines this talent with her desire to save lives. Using three-dimensional felt and mixed material breasts, she wants people to see and feel uncommon signs of breast cancer such as orange peel skin and rash, indents, thickening and crusting.
Breast In Show runs at the Colborne Street Gallery in Fenelon Falls until Oct. 29. Brenda will do two talks about her experience: October 19th (debunking myths) and 26th (the language of breast cancer) both at 7pm.
Through the exhibition, Brenda is also raising funds for the Breast Assessment Centre at Ross Memorial Hospital, which provides care to high-risk patients. Visitors to the Colborne Street Gallery are encouraged to bid on donated art or make donations to the Ross Memorial Hospital Foundation.
On October 6, Brenda visited the RMH Breast Assessment Centre and met Breast Health Navigator Dianne Robia.
“So many imaging modalities are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and they’re not covered by government funding,” said Dianne. “I’m grateful that Brenda is turning her experience into a way to help others, both through her art and by inspiring donations for the Breast Assessment Centre.”