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Wigging Out — and Liking It

Updated: Sep 23, 2018

The beauty of this Humor Beats Cancer project is that I have no idea what path it’s on. The goals remain the same — creating joy and empathy in the lives of young adult cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. But I don't know who I'll meet, what stories will be told and how the blog will affect those going through cancer.

One example is my chance Facebook meeting with photographer Linda Horton, who started about a month ago the #hotpinkwarrior project, what she calls a “passion project” created to share cancer survivors’ stories and bring a little humor to the conversation by inserting wacky pink wigs. I couldn’t help but participate. It was such a wonderful experience where I felt pretty, silly and joyful all at one time. Check out my photo below and reach out to her if you want to participate. - Olivia Clarke

Q&A with Linda about the project:

Linda Horton is a professional photographer who lives on the South Side of Chicago with her dog, Sunny. She was born a photographer, and blessed to live in a city that provides endless subject matter, and backdrops that are both ever-changing and timeless. When she’s not taking pictures, you can find her walking her dog, writing haiku on public transportation, or whipping up a batch of her legendary brownies....but she’s usually taking pictures.

HBC: What led you to this project?

Linda: A good friend of mine who I lost touch with for a few years emailed me out of the blue to tell me she had cancer. For some reason after I got over the initial shock of it I just could picture her wearing a pink wig. For some reason I thought of this “Sex and the City” episode where Samantha had this emotional scene with her boyfriend where she was shaving her head because of chemo and he also immediately shaved his head. In the next scene they get out of a limo and she’s beaming ear to ear and wearing this fabulous pink wig. I was inspired by that and thought I’m going to get a pink wig and take my friend’s picture in the wig and then give her the pink wig because I know she’ll wear it — and she did. She wore it the next day to work. And, using #hotpinkwarrior immediately came to mind when I thought of taking her photo.

We had so much fun with it and it made her feel so good that I thought I would like to do this for other people and not only make them feel good but also share their stories. Their stories could inspire others.

How has it gone so far?

It’s been super fun. After I took my friend’s picture I posted it on Facebook using #hotpinkwarrior. And after I posted her story and said I was looking for more people affected by cancer to pose for me and tell their story and wear a wig — immediately my Facebook blew up with people interested in participating. It’s really been an overwhelmingly great response.

What is your goal with the project?

I don’t know exactly. I just know that I needed to do it and I figured it will go whatever direction it’s supposed to go. I don’t know what that is going to be yet. It may be a book or I could do some gallery showings. It will evolve as it’s meant to.

How does make you feel to take these photos?

It’s so cool. I’m a photographer and when I’m taking photos I’m kind of in the zone taking pictures. But when I talk to the people and read their stories that’s when I really feel like there is some meaning to it and it’s helping people. A lot of the stories have to do with early detection, which is super important. It’s probably in a way cathartic for me too because I’ve had a family history of cancer.

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