An Astonishing Story
Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
APRIL 06, 2017
Some of you may have read or heard of Paulette Leaphart, a woman who walked from her home in Mississippi to Washington, DC to spread the word about breast cancer, mastectomies, the physical realities of what women endure. And she did it topless.
Beyond those few sentences that I hoped grabbed your attention, I have nothing to add to this incredible tale. Be aware there are enough plots and subplots and twists and turns to satisfy any novelist.
The naked truth
She was the perfect hero: a cancer survivor baring her double-mastectomy scars on a 1,000-mile walk to Washington. Until her own words got in the way.
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Behind the double-mastectomy scars that run across her bare chest, she had a story to tell.
:So late last April, Paulette Leaphart embarked on a 1,000-mile walk from her childhood hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, to the halls of Congress in Washington.
And she did it topless.
The breast cancer survivor screamed for a cure and demanded better and more affordable health care.
She wanted women without breasts to believe in their beauty and be proud of their strength. By showcasing and embracing her scars, she hoped to inspire others to do the same.
Her journey was bold, visual, moving. It offered a hero to admire and, given Paulette's audacious decision to walk shirtless in the face of strangers, a rich spectacle to witness. It spoke to African-American women, who face the highest breast cancer mortality rate. It inspired legions of survivors. And it spoke to many who'd lost someone to the disease.
It seemed a storyteller's dream. But reality would eventually intrude.