Healing through art: A cancer survivor’s story

Healing through art: A cancer survivor’s story

At age 63, Corinne Adams’ zest for life resonates when she speaks. Her journeys have made an everlasting impression that has molded her into the vivacious woman she is today. It is with her trusted camera in hand that she has taken steps through life.

Photography: Her first love

Adams grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where her family owned a newspaper. The family business played a key role in developing her innate sense of eagerness to document the world around her. When she went to college, she found great satisfaction in art and printmaking classes. However, during those years, few thought of art as a worthy career, so she settled on a journalism degree and became a reporter. But she continued to carry her camera in tow.

Photography remained at the center of her core, and she co-founded the first Atlanta Celebrates Photography event 16 years ago. Today, this citywide festival is the largest community photography festival in the country, and it provides experiences that engage and educate diverse audiences through lens-based media. Every year she puts her heart and soul into her love of photography by sharing her knowledge with others. She has played an influential role in expanding the photography circle in Atlanta.

An life-changing diagnosis  

In 2012, life took an unexpected turn. Adams received a phone call that changed her life forever. She was told she had breast cancer. She faced the news with incredible optimism: “It’s my turn. What am I going to learn from this?”

But then it became more complicated as she was flooded with treatment options. She began her treatment with a lumpectomy, but then the cancer was found in two lymph nodes. She opted for chemotherapy and embraced optimism once again: “Now I can find out what this journey is like. What can I learn from it?”

Finding hope again

After hearing a dismal rundown of what her chemo routine would entail, she cried for two weeks. Adams’ optimism was running out. Her nurse navigator at Piedmont helped her regain her strength and focus. She reminded Adams she had a home at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, a place where she could find comfort, healing and compassion. The same week Adams started chemotherapy, she started attending classes at Cancer Wellness.

“The Cancer Wellness center gave me a home where I could grow. The classes there inspired me to continue my journey with strength and confidence. The staff lifted me up and I have made everlasting relationships there. I can’t say enough about the staff — Angela, Dennis, Tallulah, David, Shayna, Edna and the chefs.”

Sharing her passion with others

Today, Adams teaches a class, “Being Seen,” where she leads participants in portrait-making. Adams guides participants through playful exercises to help them choose how they want to be seen in their photography “shoot.” She sees photography as a form of inner expression to record each participant’s amazing journey and spirit. She hopes to pass this healing therapy technique on to others.

“Everything gets interwoven in life. Making a portrait is no different from cooking a soufflé,” says Adams. “When you put your heart and love into it, it is a piece of art that reflects your inner self.”

Adams says her goal is to live a more mindful, authentic life. She wants to be a ripple in the pond, making an impact on those around her. By inspiring others to tap into their creative side, Adams is empowering them to feel the energy of self-healing.

Get inspired by more creative ways to express yourself.


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