Linda was first diagnosed with cancer in 2003. About six months earlier, Bob had taken a self-portrait in a tutu as part of a fundraiser for the Arizona Ballet. Partly just to make Linda laugh, he started snapping more images in unexpected spots like the Grand Canyon or the middle of a field of cows. Bob tells Shine that the process of being a guy in a poofy skirt and nothing else, posing somewhere like, say, Times Square, helped him to relate to his wife's vulnerability. Linda tells Shine she's still "seven days on, seven days off. But I'm doing really well." She adds, "I don't think most people would even know I had cancer."
During Linda's initial treatment, the couple realized that many women don't have access to the assistance they need. "Even people with regular middle class lives get hit with cancer, and they require more help," Linda says. "Insurance only covers the medical bills." She points out there are can be many other costs such as childcare, food delivery, and regular transportation to chemotherapy. It's especially difficult for women without partners or families nearby. The Careys established The Tutu Project to raise money for those in need, which will be distributed by Cancer Care and the Beth Israel Department of Integrative Medicine Fund, through sales of t-shirts, photographic prints, and the just-released book, Ballerina.
The Careys first spoke to Shine six months ago when they had just posted The Tutu Project blog. The public response was huge and immediate-much bigger than they had even dreamed. "Our world has been rocked, in a wonderful way," laughs Linda. "In January, I wrote up a business plan for the year which we surpassed in two weeks." An executive at the NFL spotted the story on Yahoo! and a new journey was launched.
On October 7, Bob will be taking shots of himself in his customary attire in the sold-out stadium during the Giants game against the Cleveland Browns. Linda and a parade of survivors-all decked out in The Tutu Project t-shirts--will be part of the half time show. More events with at least three teams will follow during the season. "Bob played football in high school and we're all fans of the Giants," says Linda. "It has become something I never imagined," adds Bob.
If you are tuned in on October 7, keep your eyes on the Jumbotron for more from The Tutu Project.