Sharon Smith was a on a flight home from Nova Scotia nearly two years ago when she noticed a group of happy and excited people across the aisle from her. The owner of Connect Hair Studio in Barrie leaned in to ask what they were celebrating and she was told they had raised a great deal of money for breast cancer. They had done it through a naked calendar, kind of like the movie ‘Calendar Girls.’
The chance encounter on the plane resulted in the launch of “Raw and Reflective,” a 2020 calendar in support of Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka.
“I arranged for 13 models, two in one month, as well as 14 photographers and videographers, a steering committee, make-up artists and set a target of $20,000.” said Smith.
All the models were from the region.
“I didn’t want to focus on any one form of cancer. I wanted to make it as diverse as possible, “said Smith. “This insidious disease is not selective. It hits everybody, so it was important to have men and women, both young and old.”
To make it raw and reflective, she asked the models to imply naked poses. The participants were asked to share their stories about what they wanted to pass on to people about their reflection of what time meant to them as they received their diagnosis and treatment.
Unfortunately, Smith says finding models, people who had come head-to-head with cancer, was not difficult. She says there were so many people that they had to be very selective to represent the best diversity.
Achieving $31,000 blew the target out of the water and Smith is already planning for a 2021 calendar.
“The harsh reality is that one in two people will be affected by a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime,” said Smith. “It used to be one in four, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, and now it’s one in two.”
There are still some 2020 calendars available for purchase, at a cost of $20. They can be picked up at Connection Hair Studio or Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka on Quarry Ridge Road.
More information about Gilda’s Club: https://gildasclubsimcoemuskoka.org/