Inspired by patients living with MBC, the #ThisIsMBC Serenity Project is a collaborative MBC support campaign by
METAvivor. The project gives patients an opportunity to tell their metastatic breast cancer personal stories through a series of unique pictures and inspiring videos.
The #ThisIsMBC Serenity Project was made in 2017. Unfortunately,
as is the case for too many MBC patients, some of the participants
have passed. Their stories are followed by a memoriam.
About the artists
Keith and Ren Dixon are a married couple, both deeply connected to MBC, who live
and work in Johnson City, TN. Keith and Ren help tell the stories of those living with MBC through body paint and underwater photography.
Telling Their Stories: Pictures and Videos From the #ThisIsMBC Serenity Project
CJ is the founder, past president, and director emeritus of METAvivor. She is also a retired lieutenant colonel of the US Air Force. After serving in the Air Force for 24 years, CJ took a position in civil service and was in that position when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2006. At the time, she found little information or support for patients with the disease. Determined to make a difference, CJ founded METAvivor, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and funding research. CJ’s beautiful rainbow body paint perfectly symbolizes the vibrant colors and many layers of her life and personality. Like many others living with MBC, CJ refuses to let MBC define who she is.
In the videos below, CJ talks about how she felt when she was diagnosed with MBC and her anxieties about various physical changes and symptoms. CJ also discusses the lack of information available for patients with MBC and how she set out to make that change. She also highlights the importance of educating people and dispelling myths about MBC, as well as getting involved at the community level.
Moni is a 39-year-old chef, photographer, and mom. She teaches neighborhood classes on cooking and healthy eating, often working with people with cancer. Inspired by the resiliency of her community, Moni strives to do as much as she can for them and for herself. Moni's incredible body art depicts nature's 4 elements and the universe, which reflects her spiritual connection with the world.
In the videos below, Moni talks about how, after her diagnosis, she discovered that she had been told very little about her disease and treatment options. She also speaks more broadly about the limited resources and barriers in communication for people living with MBC in her community.
Tricia, 38, is a retired restaurant manager and former competitive equestrian from Florida. Prior to her de novo metastatic diagnosis in 2014, she led a fast-paced and busy life. Since then, she has learned to slow down and ask for the help that she needs. Despite these challenging adjustments, Tricia has found the joy in her everyday life—from connecting with people to being able to take a road trip on her own. Tricia's abstract body art is inspired by her sense of self-empowerment. Her perseverance and inner strength allow her to connect and grow with the world around her.
In the videos below, Tricia talks about how her practical instincts helped her deal with the news of her diagnosis. She also shares how she learned to find the positives in life, despite the physical, emotional, and financial impact of the disease.
Susanne, 43, is a fierce and articulate MBC advocate. As a former nurse's assistant, Susanne loved to take care of people. She now puts all of that passion and energy into her advocacy work, which includes increasing awareness of MBC in the deaf community. Susanne's body art is inspired by her love of dragons and her vibrant personality.
In the videos below, Susanne talks about the fears that came with her MBC diagnosis and shares strategies that helped her overcome them. Susanne also speaks about the pain of knowing and losing so many friends to MBC. She describes it as a blessing and a curse—". . . you're lucky enough to know so many people who are so worthy of so many tears. Every single one, and you wouldn't get them out of your heart for anything." In loving memory of Susanne — May her story and advocacy work live on forever. Another precious life taken by metastatic breast cancer.
Jersi is a 46-year-old mother and founder of a breast cancer support group. She is determined to live life to the fullest and to make the most of her time with her family. For her body art, Jersi requested for her skin and scars to be visible, so that the painting would represent her true self. Jersi's strength and spirit shines through in Ren's bold and minimalist designs.
In the videos below, Jersi talks about her experience with her initial early stage diagnosis and the shock that she felt when she was told her breast cancer had metastasized a few years later. She also shares her hopes and fears for the future.
Chiara is a 45-year-old MBC advocate from New Jersey. A former Italian teacher, Chiara now spends her time helping others. She writes about her experiences on her blog. The painting of the sun radiating from Chiara's heart is reflective of her warm personality, creativity, and free spirit.
In the videos below, Chiara speaks honestly about the anxiety and sadness that she faces while living with MBC. She also talks about learning to focus on self-care in order to manage those emotions.
In loving memory of Chiara. Please help us in honoring her and so many others by continuing her passion, advocating for MBC awareness and funding for research.
As a school administrator, Patricia, 35, has spent her career teaching students and educators alike to look beyond the statistics. She is determined to apply that same mind-set to herself and others living with MBC. The luna moth featured in her body art represents strength of purpose, and the interwoven calligraphy celebrates Patricia's dedication to changing lives through education.
In the videos below, Patricia talks about coming to terms with her diagnosis and how she had to let go of her old life in order to adapt to living with MBC.
In loving memory of Patricia — another precious life taken by metastatic breast cancer. May her story and her teachings live on forever.
Many people think that men cannot get breast cancer. Bob, a 55-year-old husband and father from California, is determined to help address that myth. He advocates for other men living with MBC. For his body art, Bob chose a minimalist approach with simple and bold tribal designs. He hopes that when other men see his scars, they will be encouraged to share their stories.
Kelly is a 56-year-old patient advocate. She lives in Lake Tahoe with her family. Although she has retired after a 25-year career as a doctor, Kelly continues to help others through her advocacy work. The painting of beautiful abstract patterns—inspired by her lock of purple hair—reflects her strength and perseverance.
Brittney, 20, is a patient advocate. Despite being diagnosed at the early age of 18, she chooses to remain positive. She shares her story to raise awareness and to provide support for others living with MBC. Brittney's determination to "look on the bright side" inspires everyone she meets. The painting of a colorful peacock captures her bright personality and lively spirit.
Beth is a 37-year-old artist and the current president of METAvivor. She agreed to be featured in this campaign in honor of her friend and advocacy partner, Champagne Joy, who passed away from complications associated with MBC. Champagne Joy lived her life with a determination to make a difference in the MBC community, and Beth continues to fight for her cause. To honor Champagne, Beth was transformed into a gold masterpiece, with the illusion of angel wings behind her.
In the videos below, Beth shares her own experiences of living with MBC. She also talks about how the #ThisIsMBC Serenity Project began, and the importance of recognizing and celebrating those living with MBC.
Sheila is a 50-year-old United States Air Force veteran and MBC advocate from Cleveland, Ohio. Sheila reminds people that it’s okay to have different perspectives on living with MBC and to fight the disease YOUR way—not the way that others tell you to fight it. The photograph below beautifully captures Sheila's passion, devotion to faith, and deep patriotism.
Kelli is a 35-year-old patient advocate from Arkansas. She is a devoted daughter, wife, and stepmother. A natural nurturer, Kelli works tirelessly to support others in the MBC community. Having already survived early-stage breast cancer twice, Kelli struggled with depression when she received her metastatic diagnosis. The painting of a phoenix rising in the moonlight is representative of her past experiences and her continued determination to make the most of her time.
Jaleh is a 73-year-old internal medicine doctor and loving mother of 4. Originally from Iran, Jaleh now lives and works in New York. She wants people to feel comfortable talking about MBC, and she hopes to shatter cultural stigmas about the disease. In the photograph below, Jaleh's hands are decorated in beautiful henna patterns, and she wears an intricate gown chosen specifically to represent her Iranian heritage.
Lisa is an animal-loving advocate from Florida. A recently retired attorney, Lisa now spends her time speaking up for the MBC community. The body paint, which transforms Lisa into a superhero, is inspired by her character. Lisa's unrelenting spirit continues to help her overcome the challenges of her diagnosis.
In the videos below, Lisa reminds us of the importance of perseverance and inner strength in adapting to each new challenge. In loving memory of Lisa — another precious life taken by metastatic breast cancer. May her story and her words live on forever.
Leslie is a 39-year-old registered nurse and proud mother of 2 from Texas living with MBC. She embodies passion, love, and a drive to keep moving forward. The artwork is representative of Leslie's determination to "stop and smell the roses." Despite her diagnosis, she chooses to thrive.