This breast cancer survivor and her daughter with alopecia had a joint photo shoot and it's beautiful
Battling an illness, no matter how severe, is always an unpleasant situation. Whether it's just a temporary bout of flu, or a tougher contender such as depression or cancer, there's only one thing that is always guaranteed to ease the suffering for at least a little while: moral support.
This can come from friends, family members, or even pets; just as long as it's someone who makes you feel safe and positive, the company will make dealing with an illness just that little bit easier.
Two people who know this better than most are Kristi Tavenner and her seven-year-old daughter, Rose. Up until a couple of years ago, both of them were perfectly healthy individuals. However, when Kristi was diagnosed with breast cancer last April, and Rose suddenly developed alopecia at the age of five, the pair experienced a lot of changes in their lives.
Fortunately, they had one another to help them through.
"It felt like the end of everything," said Kristi, recalling the moment she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The 38-year-old mom had developed a tumor in her right breast, and had to undergo four rounds of chemotherapy plus a double mastectomy in order to fight the disease.
Thankfully, she made a full recovery - but lost all her hair during the treatment.
However, because of Rose's alopecia, Kristi learned to embrace the new look.
"She never slowed down, it didn't bother her a bit," Kristi said of her daughter's hair loss. "I told her she was so brave, and I asked her how she did it, and if she could help me be more brave and feel more comfortable without a wig on. She looked me and said, 'Momma, 'You just do it.'"
And yet, Kristi still had some concerns about her own hair loss. "I thought it would be good that Rose wouldn’t feel alone, but I was scared to lose my hair, and I was worried about how Rose would feel when my hair started coming back [after my chemotherapy] and hers didn’t," she confessed. Kristi had actually offered to shave her head before, back when Rose was first diagnosed with the hair-loss condition, but her daughter encouraged her not to because she enjoyed brushing her hair.
She also said: "I’m not as strong as Rose is. I am more aware of people looking at both of us, and I don't want to draw any more attention to her."
However, after months of consideration, Kristi embraced her own hair loss and decided to have a mother-daughter photo shoot with Rose in order to celebrate how beautiful they are - regardless of whether or not they deviate from the 'normal' standards of beauty.
When she saw the resulting pictures, she said, "I thought, OK, I don't look horrible. I think I look pretty and Rose looks gorgeous and together we look happy and strong."
But then they went viral.
"It was just supposed to be something for us to mark this time," she said. "I didn't realize how strongly they would come across. I'm still pretty taken aback that so many people seem to be touched by them. I feel like I’ve just done what I needed to do to take care of my family and take care of myself and be here for my family."
Since the pictures were taken, Kristi's hair has actually started to grow back. It's not as thick or as red as it used to be, but it's something. Rose, on the other hand, is still rocking her bald look and showing the world that you don't need hair to be as cute as a button.
Kristi is obviously an awesome mom with a lot of willpower, but it looks like she might actually have Rose to thank for that. The perseverance and solidarity between them is truly admirable, and the bond they share is sure to keep them close forever.