Scar Stories uses photography, music and art to raise awareness and funds for young adult cancer. They run creative projects to empower young people affected by cancer to embrace their post-treatment bodies.
21 year old cancer survivor Michaela Gunn is one of those young people. In September Michaela put her traumatic teenage years behind her for a day of rock stardom. Limo, penthouse, makeup and hair and then a photoshoot with her music idol Reece Mastin.
“They tore me apart,” Michaela said. “It took me three years to start revealing my cancer scars on my stomach, but with the whole Scar Stories team giving me support and Reece Mastin’s arms around me I had the courage to do it today.”
The double platinum, two time ARIA Award winning singer/songwriter didn’t hesitate to jump on board, making his number one fan’s year. But as you’d expect, Michaela wasn’t the only one empowered by the experience.
“I don’t think I can ever wake up the same anymore after meeting you and hearing your story,” Reece told Michaela after the photoshoot.
“What you go through on the daily…it just amazes me.”
Battling severe illness for almost a decade, Michaela sure has the scars to show for it. Doctors were forced to remove her bowel and stomach due to Crohn’s, chronic bowel disease and stomach cancer. And, at the tender age of 14, when most kids are concerned with selfies and school dances, she mysteriously broke out in scarring and abscesses over her face, chest, back and shoulders.
“My teenage years were suddenly totally taken over with being sick. I was hardly attending high school,” Michaela said. “And when I did, the kids in my class would make horrible comments about me giving them something contagious or saying I look ugly.”
“It was heartbreaking, still is some days,” she said, “Because I’m just me. I’m Michaela.”
There was true magic created in the studio with Reece and Michaela becoming fast friends, giving photographer Angelo Kehagias many amazing moments to capture. The final photographs will be toured and exhibited as part of the RockScars collection, which also includes shoots with Dead Letter Circus, Michelle Xen and many more to come.