Caring For Cynthia Empowers Caregivers

caring-for-cynthia.jpgAmy Blackburn developed a special project out of her participation in Landmark Education’s programs: The creation of a book, titled Caring for Cynthia, that is now available for purchase. The book, published by Amy Blackburn Photography, in conjunction with Verve Editions and Channel Photographics, provides a starting point from which caregivers can arm themselves with knowledge and empower their role as a valuable companion during a loved one’s journey with cancer.

Using her experience as a Tucson-based photographer and registered nurse, Blackburn has produced a photography book that captures images of one woman’s experience with breast cancer. But the true strength in Caring For Cynthia is helping the support team flourish, as revealed through Blackburn’s experiences, photographic images, and poignant essays as a caregiver for Cynthia.

As a nurse and best friend to internal medicine physician, Dr. Cynthia Ogden, Blackburn takes every step of Cynthia’s cancer journey with her. Beginning with Cynthia’s diagnosis, Blackburn trails her treatment and recovery, capturing images and subsequently, depicting the support person’s side of the breast cancer experience.

From her vantage point as an R.N. and confidante, Blackburn vividly portrays, both in images and in words, the pain, emotional chaos, and feelings of helplessness that breast cancer patients‚ and their loved ones, often encounter. Her camera lens reveals even the most sensitive moments with compassion and understanding.

Blackburn believes that sharing her experiences provides a knowledge base that will assist support persons to empower themselves as they embark on the journey of cancer with their loved one(s). The book project also underscores the importance of the caregiver’s role in the patient’s well being.

“The role of the support provider is critical. Their eyes see for the patient what the patient cannot see for themselves because of weakness, sickness, or being emotionally drained. Caregivers have to be strong and must be present to the experience. This book provides a starting point from which caregivers can empower themselves through knowledge,” explains Blackburn.

The book also provides a platform from which people can begin conversation regarding breast cancer so that caregivers and patients create community as they unite to support one another during the journey with cancer.

“Even though we both worked as professionals in healthcare, Cynthia and I were confused a! nd apprehensive about what to expect. We experienced various levels of denial, just like anyone else,” admits Blackburn. “Within weeks of Cynthia’s diagnosis, we felt compelled to create something that would serve as an educational tool to diffuse some of this initial apprehension and denial so that patients and their caregivers can focus their energy toward acceptance and, most importantly, surviving.”

The Blackburn-Ogden team recorded photographic images from the first day of diagnosis in March of 2005 until March 2006 for the book. The result is a 96-page, color, flexi- cover book featuring 44 images and numerous “day-in-the-life” essays.

This book is useful for anyone has either personally experienced breast cancer, recently learned of a breast cancer diagnosis in their circle of friends or family and healthcare professionals that encounter breast cancer diagnoses and/or treatment in their profession.

To learn more about Caring For Cynthia please go to, or to learn more about Amy Blackburn Photography, please go to or contact the artist directly at 520-991-5736. To order a signed copy of the book, call Blackburn, or for a regular copy, go to or Also, watch the video below:

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