Beautiful. It's not a word most would use to describe a battle with cancer, but that is what Charlie Johnson, her husband Kelsey, and photographer Mandy Parks did as Johnson underwent chemotherapy.
"I wanted to take control over that and not lose my hair in patches," Johnson said. "I wanted to make it beautiful."
Johnson, who lives outside of Texarkana, enlisted photographer Mandy Parks to do a photoshoot. It featured her husband, Kelsey, shaving off her hair.
"She kept saying, it's OK, it's OK, and I kept telling her quit worrying about me. I felt awful because I was the emotional one. I was the one breaking down, and she's so strong and ready for this battle," Kelsey Johnson said. "To me, it was devastating."
The resulting photos were devastatingly beautiful. The series showed the couple before Johson's long blonde hair was clipped, and the progression as her huband shaved it off, piece by piece. The last photos in the series show Johnson with a bald head, wearing pink boxing gloves.
"The strength that he showed to be able to do what he did for me was just breathtaking," Charlie Johnson said. "She (Mandy Parks) created a beautiful story in what, just those 18 pictures?"
Parks posted the photos on her photography Facebook page. They've been shared nearly 300,000 times.
"I got a message this morning from someone in Lithuania, Australia, South Africa," Charlie Johnson said. "It's just such a wonderful feeling to know that I can help someone."
Johnson said her battle started when she felt a lump, but a scan didn't detect it as cancer. She had it removed anyway, and the tests came back positive for stage 1 breast cancer. Johnson started her second round of chemotherapy Friday morning.
"Stand up for yourself. Fight for yourself," Johnson said. "Be stronger than anything that life throws at you."