Mum’s surgery inspires university photography project

2 min read

A daughter used her mum’s brain tumour surgery to inspire a photography project to show that beauty can be found in the darkest of moments. 

Heather Bell was 19 and studying at the University of Salford when her mum, Jeanie, underwent surgery to remove two low-grade brain tumours in September 2018. The photography student shot images of the scar her mum was left with following surgery as part of a project she undertook in her second year. 

Labour Councillor and mum-of-three, Jeanie, was diagnosed with two grade 1 meningiomas in November 2017 at the age of 41. Her diagnosis came after years of suffering from a range of symptoms, including headaches, facial pins and needles and mood swings, which her doctors thought were peri-menopausal.  

Jeanie said: “After my craniotomy I looked at my scar and felt a sense of relief. I was so happy the surgery had gone well and my prognosis was excellent. 

“My daughter Heather was 19 at the time of my surgery and studying a degree in photography. With a wisdom beyond her years, she wanted to show me that from the darkest moment in life, something beautiful can appear. You just have to look for it.” 

Heather’s photograph, which she called ‘Fire in the Brain’ was projected onto the wall at the course’s end of year exhibition. 

Jeanie added: “It signifies the fight for survival, the beauty of a brain working as hard as it can to recover, despite the damage. Because there really is beauty in the darkest of moments, even in a scar that covers half your head!” 

Jeanie after surgery with Heather, who took good care of her 

Fire in the Brain 

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