- 13 July 2012
- by Paige Yungermann
Do a Google Image search for “Tutu Project,” and what you will find are pictures of a man wearing little more than a pink tutu. These photos, inexplicably odd though they may seem, are part of a worthwhile cause. The man in the tutu, photographer Bob Carey, and his wife Linda Carey run the Tutu Project, an organization that helps and supports women with breast cancer.
It all started nine years ago, when Bob took a picture of himself in a tutu for a non profit group in Arizona. After that first photo, he kept the tutu and was inspired to take more self portraits in it during Bob and Linda’s move from Arizona to New York. Shortly after making the move, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she was at the hospital receiving treatments, she and Bob starting sharing the tutu pictures with other breast cancer patients to cheer them up.
“Her and Bob wanted to do something to help those women,” Tutu Project business manager Marcela Shine said, “and so Linda and Bob started to share the pictures of Bob in a ballerina suit with some of these ladies, and they realized that it would lift their day, and they were then inspired to do something around that for breast cancer awareness and to help other women.”
Thus, the Tutu Project was born. While they continued to share the photos to make women smile, Bob and Linda also wanted to find a way to use the photos to assist these women with the financial burden of cancer treatments. The couple decided to turn Bob’s images and stories into a self published book.
“There’s 60 images, and then there’s also backstory of our adventures of what has happened,” Linda said. “Most of them are really funny- people’s reactions when we’re shooting, the police have asked us to stop, and more of those kinds of stories.
The book is titled “Ballerina,” and it is expected to be released in October in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The net proceeds of the book will benefit the Carey Foundation, which will in turn work with other organizations to make sure the money is helping women with breast cancer.
“One of the things that I like best about this project is that the money’s not going to research, which don’t get me wrong, research is extremely important, but there’s a lot of money going there,” Marcela said. “The beauty of this project is that the money that we raise is going to individuals that really need it.”
As the release of the book approaches, the Tutu Project is beginning to work with Volunteen to get teens involved in promoting “Ballerina.” One of the main things the Tutu Project wants to enlist the help of teenagers for is getting more likes on the organization's Facebook page. Bob, especially, is hoping to get more teens involved.
“Since he was a skater as a teenager, he likes the idea that he can influence young kids to think of ways to help other in their lives,” Marcela said.
Even after the book comes out, Bob will continue taking pictures, and he and Linda plan to continue to expand the Tutu Project.
“Our goal as we grow is to get to become one of the key brands in the breast cancer awareness battle,” Marcela said. “What’s really interesting about it is that Bob will probably be one of the few if not the only man who represents breast cancer. You see the ribbon, and you see other things, but you’ve really never seen a jolly man in a tutu representing a more female oriented disease, and I think that’s something that we are pretty proud of.”