NEW YORK — Meet Karen Walsh, a 40-year-old Broadway actress and mother of two, who is currently going through treatment for Stage IV colon cancer.
Walsh has been taking with internet by storm with her chemo sessions that she turns into awesome cosplay photo shoots.
The idea came when her friend Sam Pinkleton, a Broadway director and choreographer, visited.
“We had the time and decided to get creative while the infusion was working it’s way in,” Walsh told BuzzFeed. “We took a creative photo on a window ledge, a favorite of mine.”
“And then other friends who had asked to come started suggesting props, and then costumes, and then we got into the habit of brainstorming a theme a couple of weeks out,” she said.
Since then, she and her friends have dressed up like Game of Thrones characters.
Her favorite thing about the costume shoots is how it lets her see people she may not have seen in a while “because we are all busy and I’ve become slightly more busy than usual trying to fold healing into a regular week.”
“It makes me happy to have time to laugh and fool around with friends while getting infused,” she said.
She also hopes she can help spread the word about the importance of colon cancer screenings.
Walsh is an ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s 80 by 2018 campaign, which works to get 80% of the eligible population screened by 2018.
Treatment has been effective so far and she’s experienced minimal side effects, for which she feels “lucky” and “very grateful.”
“I have a great support team of friends and family who show up and provide the emotional support when I need it, without judgement, and help me stay positive,” she said. “And they are patient with me when I’m too busy or consumed in my healing. All I wish is that I had the proper amount of time in a week to effectively express my gratitude.”
Walsh said the costume photo shoots help take her mind off of what she’s going through.
“I’m not a big fan of spending all of my time sitting in the fear of it all,” she said. “But that is simply the way I want to operate. “We all have our own ways of dealing with such a surprising and unknown diagnosis.”