A breast cancer survivor who lost her hair during chemotherapy has posed for a special photo shoot with her young daughter who suffers from alopecia.
Kristi Tavenner, 38, from Tennessee, was diagnosed with the illness last April after finding a lump in her right breast.
She had to undergo a double mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy, but is now living cancer-free, and underwent breast reconstruction surgery last week.
Bond: Kristi Tavenner, 38, from Tennesse has taken part in the photo shoot with her eight-year-old daughter, Rose
Survivor: Kristi was diagnosed with breast cancer last April after finding a lump in her right breast and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, causing her to lose her hair
Brave: Rose lost her age aged five, after she was diagnosed with alopecia
But having lost all of her hair during treatment, Kristi decided to take the opportunity to celebrate her battle with the deadly disease by posing in a poignant photo shoot with her eight-year-old daughter, Rose.
Rose was diagnosed with alopecia at the age of five, and although she has a wig, she chooses not to wear it or headscarves.
And it was her daughter’s own bravery in accepting her bare head that inspired Kristi to do the same, ditching her wig around family and friends by mid-September.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan about her decision to embrace being bald, Kristi revealed: ‘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.”‘
Admitting that she was ‘scared’ to lose her hair, Kristi also shared that she was worried about how Rose would feel when he hair started to come back after chemotherapy.
Inspiration: Although hesitant at first, the mom-of-three says she was inspired to do the shoot because of Rose’s bravery in accepting her own hair loss
Keeping it in the family: A family friend, photographer Kellie Pizza of Kellie Rose Photography took the shots
And when a photographer friend, Kellie Pizza of Kellie Rose Photography offered to take photos of the mother daughter duo to capture their momentary likeness, Kristi revealed that she was initially hesitant.
She explained: ‘I’d gained weight from the chemotherapy and steroids, I didn’t feel good from all the procedures, and my body image was just really low at that point,’ says Kristi, who initially wore a wig to hide her baldness.
‘It made me feel horrible, like I was making her question her self-confidence because of my insecurities.’
She also said she didn’t want more people looking at the pair or draw any unwanted attention.
However, after reconsidering, Kristi arranged the mother-daughter shoot, and said she was shocked by the results.
‘I was floored,’ she revealed. ‘I thought, “OK, I don’t look horrible.” I think I look pretty and Rose looks gorgeous and together we look happy and strong.’
Positive impact: The images have gone viral since being released on Pizza’s Facebook page
Recovery: Although there is no prognosis for Rose’s hair growing back, Kristi has recently noticed her own hair is returning
And the photos have made a big impact with a wider audience too, going viral after Pizza released them publicly on her Facebook page.
Although there is no prognosis for Rose’s hair growing back, Kristi has recently noticed her own hair is returning – fine, dark hair in place of the red curls she used to have – and shared that Rose likes to run her hands over the regrowth.
Before her cancer treatment, the little girl used to love brushing an braiding her mom’s hair.
‘I didn’t realize how strongly they would come across. I’m still pretty taken a back that so many people seem to be touched by them,’ Kristi shared.
‘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.’