Très Pratique Photo

Stem Cell Transplant

Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Artist Sarah Davis had been through a number of unsuccessful treatments. Her next option was a stem cell transplant. Finding little but clinical information online she asked us to collaborate on short project, using photography to document the experience of what was hopefully her last treatment.
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Sarah Davis is an artist that we have been collaborating with for a number of years. During treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma she continually looked for creative ways to maintain her artistic practice despite the limitations the treatment was forcing upon her. In 2018 Sarah was running out of treatment options and underwent a stem cell transplant.

The process of a stem cell transplant is arduous, Sarah described it as a "reboot" of her immune system. The process involves an aggressive course of chemotherapy to destroy bone marrow and cancer cells - it also stops the immune system which leaves the patient vulnerable, requiring a prolonged stay in hospital with reduced human contact.

Sarah wanted the experience documented through photography. The space that she would reside in, the objects and belongings she was using to occupy herself and take comfort in, the toll it had taken on her body, as well as the transplant itself.

Thankfully Sarah is now in remission and she has been pursuing her practice with renewed vigour. She has also used her experience to shine a light on some of the issues facing people in a similar position. Her insights are especially relevant as numerous people are forced into shielding in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. Her comments have been included in articles in The Times, BBC News, as well as more social endeavours such as the Sex and Cancer project. She has also turned the experience of her stem cell transplant into an audio piece that was developed as part of the BBC New Creatives initiative.
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Sarah's story is a hopeful one and we were honoured to have made a small contribution to this part of her journey. Taken over two days the photographs below are a selection of the images we took with Sarah, leading up to and during her stem cell transplant.

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