There’s nothing scandalous or lewd about it, however. This quirky two-year calendar features the feet and shoes of local women who have battled or are battling cancer, and proceeds from sales go to the American Cancer Society.
The idea for the unusual calendar was the brainchild of cancer survivor Beth Erwin.
“Walking down the path of life, we all have different shoes we wear,” she writes on the first page of the calendar. “Some shoes are for running, some shoes are for comfort or support. ….. As survivors, we were given a different path to walk for a while, with a different pair of shoes to wear. Some days we don’t want to even wear our shoes….. I hope this calendar will encourage you each day to keep walking… whatever path you’re on, whatever shoes you wear.”
The 24 women featured in the calendar are all Rome residents and range in age from early 30s to mid 70s. They represent a wide cross section of society. They represent different cancers and they represent different stages of recovery.
“Some of the women have been cancer free for years,” said Ginger Palmer, who along with Kim Dillingham did much of the work to put the calendar together. “Some of the women are battling cancer right now. And one recently lost her battle with cancer.”
Just two months after her photograph was taken, Kathy Wilson passed away. But not before her sandaled feet were photographed so that she could be Miss November 2014 in the calendar she hoped would be a positive force in the local fight against cancer.
The models were told to choose shoes that were special to them in some way, Dillingham said.
“The shoes could be a pair that was special to them or that they had a particular fondness for,” she said. “Or it could be shoes that were just very comfortable or that made them feel beautiful.”
Jennifer Almand photographed the women and their shoes, all at downtown locations. The photographs feature women wearing cowboy boots, sexy black pumps, sparkly TOMs, pretty pink flip flops and even some dazzling red heels.
Miss April 2013, Cyndy, loves riding horses. Her embroidered boots were a perfect choice. Miss January 2014, Michelle, survived cancer but her mother did not. So she is photographed in her mom’s brown boots as a tribute. And Miss May 2013 is pictured in a carefree pose with her bare feet pointed to the sky because undergoing treatment has made it very uncomfortable for her to wear shoes.
“Women use shoes to express themselves,” Almand said. “They make us feel strong or pretty or sexy. They say something about us. This is a perfect way to show the different personalities and moods of these women.”
Palmer herself posed for the calendar. She is Miss June 2013. With her salmon–colored cowboy boots at the Town Green, she said it was important to her as a breast cancer survivor to be a part of the project she hopes will raise money for the American Cancer Society.
“I feel comfortable in those boots,” she said. “I feel powerful in them.”
The calendar is a project of the women’s Coosa High School class of 1986’s Relay for Life Team. Any money raised by its sales will go the American Cancer Society.
“This isn’t just something we did for fun,” Dillingham said. “It means a great deal to us. Some of us are cancer survivors, some of us have lost loved ones to cancer and we had a classmate who lost her battle to cancer. So we would love to have people buy the calendar but more importantly we hope that people put this calendar up in their homes and at work and are reminded daily of the women right here in our community who fight this fight. We hope it reminds everyone who sees it — men and women — to stay strong and positive and to remember that there is always hope.”
The two-year calendars sell for $20 each and are available for purchase at Coosa Valley Credit Union on Redmond Road, Bryant Motors on Shorter Avenue, Dirt Town Deli on U.S. Hwy 27, Image Makers on Dean Avenue and at Imagine Hair Studio and Art Gallery Lounge on Broad Street.
Calendars are also available by calling Kim Dillingham at 706-506-7678, Ginger Palmer at 706-766-4008 and Jennifer Almand at 706-346-1590.