We all know someone that knows someone that has been taken under the dark wing of breast cancer. It is not only a shocking reality in the world of women, but can be a terrifying grim reaper to those that don’t detect early. Some women make it, other women do not. That hard-hitting fact is why so many men and women take the to streets daily in search of a not just a cure that can save their moms, sister, wives and daughters, but for the overwhelming sense of hope. That is what we are all in search of when it comes to this diagnosis. Hope.

The Huffington Post printed a story around Jill Brzezinski-Conley, a woman who, at 32, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo a double mastectomy. And now, at 35, she has stage four incurable breast cancer. But the fight to live beautifully is still going, and here’s why.

You see, Jill went to visit her childhood friend in Seattle and the two collaborated on the real, gritty and almost too honest idea of photographing Jilll’s breast cancer in the flesh so more people could know the reality. After the shots were taken, it was Nikki Closser’s (the childhood friend’s) idea to send the photos over to Sue Bryce a renowned photographer, along with a bit of background on Jill’s story.. Within a short period of time, Bryce responded to the photos and invited Jill to Skype in on what ended up being a dream invitation to come to Paris and shoot with her.

Looking at the photographs and seeing the magnetic glow of happiness makes you appreciate the acts of kindness people are capable of performing. And more, it allows you to understand that whichever loved one is going through cancer now, there is hope. Hope to be cured. Hope to dream. Hope to be beautiful at any stage.

Aside from the gorgeous gown and the flawless appeal of the City of Lights, the overall theme here is awareness. We can’t say it enough as women. Be aware of every element of your body. Jill has said this was not just about beauty. Jill put off seeking a doctor’s appointment after recognizing an inverted nipple over the course of a year. Now, she urges other women to be educated and aware of their bodies. Every bit of knowledge of every last detail of a mole or lump can save your life if detected early enough. But this photo shoot wasn’t merely about feeling like a woman again with stunning attire, hair and makeup; it was showing a side of a survivor in a way that made her feel beautiful once again in her skin.

Featured image via ShutterStock