Fighting Breast Cancer One Tutu At A Time

Photo Courtesy of the Tutu Project

Editor’s Note: Today’s the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with this blog post by Margie Clayman, we wrap up our series about people making waves and changing the way we think about breast cancer. PinkGiving has proven to be a great campaign, where–with the help of thousands of fans–we achieved our 50,000 Like milestone on Facebook. As promised, is donating $10,000 to four great organizations in the fight against breast cancer. To read more about our campaign, click here.

Back in 2003, on a complete lark, Bob Carey decided to photograph himself in a pink tutu. His wife Linda says, “He’s always pushed the envelope in his photography and chose to shoot himself in a tutu, it was pink but only because in the black and white photo, it had the right tone.”

You might think that that would be enough of a story. A man photographing himself in a pink tutu? More than once? What more do you need to write a great story?

Factually though, there is more to the story. Six months after Bob took that first photograph, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled it successfully only to have it come back again in 2006. After that roller coaster of a journey, Bob and Linda decided that they should combine their experiences and their interests to try to help other women who are battling breast cancer.

Initially, the Careys were going to self-publish Ballerina, a book of Bob’s tutu photos and give all of the proceeds to organizations funding cancer research. In March, 2012, the Careys launched a website to help promote sales of the book. Linda notes that originally, the goal was to raise $75,000. That goal has changed.

“We would love to grow The Carey Foundation into something much larger,” Linda says. “Not like Komen or Avon, much more grassroots. Based on my experience with cancer, women’s needs–aside from insurance–are underserved. Bob and I would like to provide assistance, to lessen some of the challenges of the cancer journey.”

Not surprisingly, the energy and commitment of the Careys and The Carey Foundation has been the best kind of contagious. A week after launching the site, the Tutu Project website appeared on the front page of Yahoo!. The Careys have been invited to appear on numerous television shows including “The Today Show.” Bloomingdales partnered with the Careys and is offering customers a chance to buy Ballerina at the store. And the NFL agreed to let Bob take photographs during halftime shows to help raise awareness.

Ultimately, the Careys are hoping to grow their organization into a valuable, well-known resource for women fighting breast cancer, especially women who are uninsured. While they may never become as well-known as larger organizations, Bob and Linda have already gained many allies through their strength and sense of humor.

How You Can Help

There are many ways to help support the Tutu Project. You can “like” the Tutu Project on Facebook, which is of course a no-brainer. Check out their website for more information, or you could simply donate to the Carey Foundation on

The Tutu Project is a great example of how social media can amplify social good efforts. While Bob certainly could have promoted his photography and Ballerina before the days of social media, it would have been far more difficult to have the word spread so quickly. A unique approach, a good sense of humor, and readily apparent courage and strength in both Bob and Linda have combined to create an effort well worth watching–and supporting. Check out the Tutu Project today and help spread the word!