So often a photography exhibit documents a fleeting moment or memory. However, Lisa Boccard’s photographic essay, “The Cure Package” is an amazing story of survival beyond the moment preserved.
The exhibit, presented as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, consists of 15 photos taken by Miami Beach photographer Lynn Parks. It will open on Saturday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., at the ACND Gallery of Art at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, 4949 NE Second Ave. (telephone: 305-751- 8367; visit online at <www.acnd.net>.) This event is free, but an RSVP is required to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Taken more than two decades ago, the photos now seem a little outdated and “80ish,” but look deeply beyond the visual and get to know the subject. Today, this exhibit says, “I am still here,” and Boccard’s life is a story that defied statistics, and one of purpose, where her attitude and persistence have changed the community.
When “The Cure Package” debuted 19 years ago at The Towers of Quayside, she hoped that the self-portraits would help other women understand the disease and send a message that, despite treatment, survivors could still claim and proclaim their femininity.
Black and white studio portraits depict Boccard confronted with numerous medicine bottles; with head completely bald, she poses beside mannequins with hair (or vice versa), and, ironically, the essay ends in color with an elated Boccard (who had then thought she had overcome this stage of cancer) holding a young girl in her arms. Two years ago the mother of this girl (now an adult) was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away this past June.
In 1991, at the age of 29, Boccard was first diagnosed with Stage III breast cancerafter being misdiagnosed for nine months. Although declared “cancer free” 10 years later, by 2003, she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and given five years to live.
Life beyond her diary has evolved into a career dedicated to helping other women surviving breast cancer. She is a co-founder of the Florida Breast Cancer Coalition and a board member for Women Beyond Cancer. In 2003, her brother, Vincent, and his wife, Terry, founded the Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund that helps provide funding for screening mammograms for women who cannot afford them. In 1994, she, along with other breast cancer advocates, presented President Bill Clinton with 2.6 million signatures requesting the resources needed to end the breast cancer epidemic through Campaign ’94 with the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
Her fervid leadership has been crucial in the success of the fund.
“In many cases, something like this is created to honor the memory of someone who has passed away,” Boccard stated in a 2012 interview. “I am alive and here. When I am introduced, people are shocked that I am alive. It is amazing to see their reactions.”
Boccard also is involved with the many fundraisers benefiting the fund such as the Broward Health Coral Springs’ Race for Women’s Wellness and Glam-a-Thon events. “My Dad once said, ‘Cancer has become your career.’ In a way, he was right. It has changed my life in so many ways, Boccard said. “And, what we have done with our lives goes back to our foundation.”
“The Cure Package” is the first exhibit as part of the ACND Prep’s “Through the Lens — Artist Alumni Series.” Boccard graduated from the school in 1980. Visit www.acnd.net to learn more.