BEAVER BANK: Becca Schofield may have passed away earlier this year due to cancer, however the well-known girl still provides inspiration for a unique project being done by a young Lower Sackville woman, who is a cancer survivor.
Katie MacLeod is making a photography documentary series titled “My Cancer, My Story” profiling kids with cancer and posting it to Facebook and Instagram. There will also be a website in the next few months. She is doing it with the blessing of the IWK.
Eventually, MacLeod—diagnosed with the rare Stage 4 soft tissue cancer at birth—wants to turn the series into a book with stories of each of the kids she’s profiled; so far she has done about 15. She’s never met someone with the same cancer as she has.
“The two profiles that really stick out for me so far are one on a camper of mine at Camp Good time, Becca Schofield,” said MacLeod inside the Tim Hortons on Beaver Bank Road. “She passed away from her battle with cancer in February. She was one of my very close friends, who was the very first person I photographed for the project.
“She influenced and helped me a lot throwing ideas around before she passed. That one holds a special place in my heart because she was one of my best friends.”
She said another profile that sticks out is one she did on a boy named Joey.
“When I was sick in the hospital, Joey was 14 when he was in the hospital and was 17 when he died because of his cancer,” the Lower Sackville resident said. “He helped my mom (Gaelyn MacLeod) a lot getting through my diagnosis. We’re still really close with his family.”
Joey’s story was just launched on Nov. 14 on the My Cancer, My Story Facebook and Instagram pages.
There’s a quote that Schofield told MacLeod once, and it continues to stick with her to this day.
“She used to always say a quote from Harry Potter and that was ‘Fear the name, increases fear of the object itself,’” said MacLeod, 24. “I think that applies very well to cancer.”
It all started because she is a cancer survivor herself having been diagnosed when she was born with a rare Stage 4 sarcoma cancer. She initially wanted to attend nursing school, but being squeamish after what she’s gone through she figured that field wasn’t quite her cup of tea.
“I started doing photography when I was 14 of 15 and then went to school for it,” said MacLeod.
She started doing self-portraits on her remission days, and then she photographed Schofield.
“The kids are my motivation for doing My Cancer, My Story,” she said.
MacLeod has met so many families and bonded with the kids going through what she has.
“Cancer is such a horrible thing, but the people I’ve met through the cancer world make it so worth it,” she said smiling. “It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life so far.”
She said My Cancer, My Story is about bringing awareness that more funding is needed for research into childhood cancer. Currently, they only get four per cent of funding directed towards cancer research.
She said the response has been overwhelming—to the point a couple of the posts have gone viral and reached more than 10,000 views.
“It’s been great support from the community from those who have posted on Instagram and Facebook,” said MacLeod.
MacLeod wants to do a Humans of New York style documentary book where the reader can look at the photos of the kids and read their stories. All of this is being done through her own volunteer time, not being paid.
“I would eventually be able to approach places for grants so I can donate to the Oncology floor and research into childhood cancer,” she said.
One goal she wants to do is take sales from the book and donate it to the Canadian Cancer Society and the Oncology floor at the IWK.
“I just want to give back to people in the field that saved my life and will continue to save other children’s lives,” said MacLeod.