Fighting cancer through art

Published 6:00am 14 May 2024

Fighting cancer through art
Words by Nick Crockford

Mother-of-three Rachel Bernardo will open an art exhibition in Redcliffe next month to help raise awareness of bowel cancer and funding for research.

She was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 38, had chemotherapy and surgery and is now a bowel cancer survivor.

But her journey inspired a “passion for advocacy” and Rachel held a Bowel Cancer Gala at Redcliffe Leagues Club last year which raised more than $14,000.

That went to Bowel Cancer Australia, a community-funded charity, which will also get proceeds from next month’s exhibition, which has a ticketed opening night on June 1. 

To buy tickets use the barcode on the poster below.

The interactive display at The Loft Gallery in Sutton St, will have different stories by early onset “bowel warriors” from this region and wider Queensland.

Fighting cancer through art

Rachel said the theme, ‘So, this is early onset bowel cancer’, urges “exploration of the unique challenges faced by individuals diagnosed at a younger age”.

The aim is to “raise awareness about early onset bowel cancer, empowering through art and igniting conversations on early detection and its impact”, Rachel said.

There is also a need to encourage “vigilance, regular checks, breaking taboos and advocating for personal healthcare”.

“I’m grateful for the experience having met some amazing people, strangers who have become family and others on similar journeys,” Rachel said.

“It has also helped put my priorities in perspective, focusing on family, living in the now, listening to my body …”

Fighting cancer through art

The Deception Bay resident has also lobbied MPs and Senators to lower the screening age for bowel cancer.

Rachel said art is a hobby and most enjoys photography. She will have some of her photography artwork in the exhibition.

“I’m influenced by nature and love taking photography of beautiful places,” she said.

The four-week exhibition is from June 1-28 at The Loft Gallery in Sutton St. The launch night is from 6-8pm with finger food, a major prize draw and silent auction.

Everyone is welcome, Rachel said, from “corporates and the public section to community members, cancer patients and survivors and supporting services”.

“Bowel cancer does not discriminate,” she said.

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