Inspiring photoshoot shows brave model posing after losing her jaw to cancer
Elizaveta Bulokhova was a high-flying model with everything to live for – a regular on the runway from New York to Tokyo as well as being routinely featured in popular publications such as Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan. However, her success was abruptly put on hold when she was diagnosed with jaw osteosarcoma – an aggressive form of bone cancer.
At the tender age of 24, Bulokhova experienced excruciatingly painful jaw inflammation that continued to develop, leading her to undergo several CT scans and biopsies in order to detect her illness. The devastating news came just weeks after the discovery of her pregnancy with her partner, Ronan Troubetskoi. Even worse so, her doctor advised that the child wouldn’t survive the invasive chemotherapy treatment leaving her no option but to abort the baby. This realisation was heartbreaking for the Latvian-born model as she had already began to feel the baby’s movements.
Bulokhova underwent various surgeries including a 16-hour operation to remove the tumour and then her jaw. This was followed by reconstruction surgery where nerve and skin grafts from her right leg and right shoulder as well as part of her fibula bone were used to restore her jaw. She lost 95% of her original jaw throughout the treatment. Complications arose, forcing her to delay the chemotherapy treatment, presenting a blessing in disguise when doctors assured her that the child could be delivered safely by caesarean section ten weeks early with the advice coming just two days before the scheduled abortion. The couple welcomed their son Valentin to the world, who spent 51 days in intensive care due to the premature nature of his birth.
Photos: Manolo Ceron/ ©Manalo Studios Makeup Artist: Julia Stone
After a traumatic 14 months, the model is making a rapid recovery with Valentin, a happy and healthy child. The now 25-year-old model decided along with her Toronto-based photographer friend, Manolo Ceron, to create a series of photographs in a brave and inspirational endeavour to voice her ordeal. Furthermore, she is asking anyone inspired by her story to donate to cancer charities such as Cancer Research UK and the Canadian Cancer Society with the aim to raise $1 million by inspiring the world through her story.
Ceron stated: “We wanted to use art as a tool to tell her story. She is the story and everything else is a tool to enhance her beauty and her strength. It shows how fragile we are and how beautiful we are. It’s hard to put one core message in it but there’s a lot of hope and strength and there are a lot of cancer survivors out there who might take something from this, and maybe that’s what the underlying message is.”
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