New Jersey Woman Chronicles Year-Long Battle With Breast Cancer in Photos

By Pat Battle
|  Thursday, Oct 3, 2013  |  Updated 6:24 AM EDT
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Blogger Emily Helck's series of pictures documenting her very personal battle with breast cancer has gone viral. Pat Battle has her story.

NBC 4 New York

Blogger Emily Helck's series of pictures documenting her very personal battle with breast cancer has gone viral. Pat Battle has her story.

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A New Jersey blogger is getting attention for a very personal photo project in which she exposes herself, literally and figuratively, during her yearlong battle with breast cancer.

Originally intended to keep her friends and family updated on her progress as she underwent treatment, Emily Helck took one picture per week during her journey with cancer. Then she posted a 60-second time-lapse version of the photos on her blog.

"Doing this kind of made this little time capsule for me to later go back and see what the process really was without all the emotional charge that losing your hair or lying on the radiation machine has," she said. 

The photos are a simple but stark chronicle of the wide-ranging emotions of a 28-year-old woman fighting a disease that will strike one in eight women. She is sometimes pensive, sometimes sad, but never hiding anything -- not the drainage tubes nor the radiation burns.

As for why so many have been compelled to watch the time lapse video, Helck believes it helps eases people's fears about cancer. 

"For instance, their sister is dealing with cancer and maybe they're afraid to go to chemo with her, but if they watch something like this, they can say, 'I get more of a sense of what's going on in her life, and it's less scary when it's happening to someone else than to someone I love,'" she said. 

With a masters in English and creative writing, it was natural for Helck to share her thoughts on her blog, but she could never have imagined the response she got to the video.

"It's been extremely positive," she said. "I've gotten so many well wishes, so many expressions of support. It's been a nice kind of warm blanket feeling." 

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