Every Woman Matters

A Montana Multi-media Event Highlighting the Importance of Breast Cancer Screening among Women with Physical Disabilities

Portraits of Montana Women Living with Disabilities: A Community Event

Montana community partners developed this multimedia exhibit to promote statewide awareness of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Right to Know campaign.

A Montana Multi-media Event Highlighting the Importance of Breast Cancer Screening among Women with Physical Disabilities

Portraits of Montana Women Living with Disabilities: A Community Event (PDF) (View accessible Word document PDF)

The EWM exhibit features black and white portraits (36”x 48” canvas prints) of 12 Montana women with physical disabilities – some are breast cancer survivors, all are role models and advocates. A multimedia video project produced by University of Montana School of Journalism students and professor Jeremy Lurgio augments the portraits taken by internationally acclaimed portrait photographer Steven Begleiter. A grant from  Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Montana Affiliate supported portrait production.

The EWM exhibit premiered on March 6, 2009 at Begleiter Photography Studio at 223 W. Front Street, Missoula. The exhibit’s next stop coincided with the Komen Montana Race for the Cure in Helena. The “Every Woman Matters” multi-media exhibit will travel to other Montana communities and is available for health conferences and other events. To install the exhibit, hosts need 800 to 1200 square feet of gallery/studio space and an LCD projector with projection screen or a large TV screen with a DVD player for the short promotional film.

 Betty Kelton, Pablo, MT, breast cancer survivor, says "We have no idea what our capacity is to overcome. And that is just what we have to do, is be an 'overcomer'." Monica Garrahan, President of Montana Independent Living Center Board, says: "Every woman counts, everyone is important. Every woman has the right to get the screenings they need; every woman matters."

Betty Kelton, Pablo, MT
Breast Cancer Survivor

Monica Garrhan, Helena, MT
President, Board of Directors
Montana Independent Living Center Project

Melodie Bowen of Great Falls, MT, has had a breast biopsy and lumpectomy. She says "If you think something is wrong, don't let the doctor tell you no." Mary Leighton, breast cancer survivor of Billings, MT, says" Your independence is a lot. And when you don't have any independence, it's like you lose a part of yourself."

Melodie Bowen
Great Falls, MT
Breast Biopsy, Lumpector

Mary Leighton
Billings, MT
Breast Cancer Survivor


Barbara Harper, breast cancer survivor of Missoula, MT, says "You gotta have hope, 'cause without hope there's nothing." Carla (CJ) Taylor of Kalispell, MT, lost her maternal grandmother to breast cancer. She says" I want to be strong for my daughter. I have MS, I don't want it to own me."

Barbara Harper
Missoula, MT
Breast Cancer Survivor

Carla (CJ) Taylor
Kalispell, MT
Lost maternal grandmother to breast cancer

Connie Leveque, Independent Living Specialist from Helena, MT, says "We need to focus on being our own best friends." Sylvia Stevens, public health professional from Helena, MT, says "It's OK to ask for help."

Connie Leveque
Helena, MT
Independent Living Specialist

Sylvia Stevens
Helena, MT
Public Health Professional

Lynne Kelley, of Missoula, MT, lost her mother to breast cancer. She says "We need to do something and we need to do it now, because there are women out there that are not having mammograms. This is important." Jessica Cantrell of Poplar, MT, is diagnosed with breast cancer. She says, "There is another life beyond this, I don't fear the end."

Lynne Marie Kelly
Missoula, MT
Lost her mother to breast cancer

Jessica Cantrell
Poplar, MT
Diagnosed with breast cancer

Dolly Lingle of Polson, MT, is a breast cancer survivor. She says "Love is a great healer." Nickie Fee of Great Falls, MT, is seeking diagnosis of a lump in her breast. She says, "Never give up. Go to the doctor, even though you're frustrated, go. Never give up. As simple and as complicated as that is."

Dolly Lingle
Polson, MT
Breast Cancer Survivor

Nicolette (Nickie) Fee
Great Falls, MT
Seeking diagnosis of a lump in her breast

Thanks to our partners:

Steven Begleiter
Steve’s professional career began in 1980 as first photo assistant to Annie Leibovitz and Mary Ellen Mark.  Now he is a freelance photographer in Missoula, Montana. Before moving to Missoula, he lectured on photography at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and also ran a freelance photography business. He received a Greater Philadelphia Cultural Association grant and served on the board of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers.

He has authored four books: Fathers and Sons; The Art of Color Infrared Photography; The Portrait Book, A Guide for Photographers; and 50 Lighting Setups for the Portrait Photographer.  Lou Jacobs Jr. selected Begleiter as one of ten portrait photographers for Jacob’s book, Professional Portrait Photography: Techniques and Images from Master Photographers and also included him in the book Creative Portraiture. Begleiter contributes to the trade magazine, Photo Techniques, and reviews photography books for Elsevier Publishing. His work has appeared in Esquire, Newsweek, Big Sky Journal, Us Weekly, Forbes, Elle, Business Week, on the cover of Time, in Fortune 500 annual reports and in national advertising campaigns.

Jeremy Lurgio
Jeremy is a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer in Missoula, Montana. He also teaches at The University of Montana’s School of Journalism and at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula. His passion for documenting people and places inspires his photography. He is a regular contributor to both the Big Sky Journal and Montana Magazine, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, High Country News, The Drake, Fly Fisherman, Montana Quarterly, Wild Fibers Magazine, Outside Missoula, Missoula Living and the Montana Journalism Review. He has published work in DK Publishing’s America 24/7 and Montana 24/7 books.

Letty A. Hingtgen is a photojournalist from Seattle, and a journalism and media arts graduate of The University of Montana. Letty worked as a multimedia intern at the Missoulian and served as the design editor at the Montana Kaimin.

Russel Daniels
Russel studied visual journalism at The University of Montana’s School of Journalism. He reported and documented Indian Country stories on Two Spirit Societies — Native Americans who fulfill traditional mixed gender roles in many Native American and Canadian First Nations indigenous societies. His photography has earned him numerous awards and scholarships. In 2005 and 2006 he attended the American Indian Journalism Institute. In 2008 he was a Chips Quinn Scholar. Daniels completed photojournalism internships with the Sioux Falls Argus, Minnesota’s St. Cloud Times, and the Associated Press in Chicago. In summer 2009 he interned with the Associated Press in San Francisco.

Elly Burton and Randy Pilgrim
Elly has been a cosmetologist for over 40 years and a salon owner for 33 years. She is an honorary Montana hair fashion member and has won awards for every phase of hairstyling. Elly loves cutting, coloring, and designing her clients’ hair. Her other great joy is working with daughters Angel Herring and Krista. Elly is a stylist at Angel’s Missoula salon, Burton’s Classic Hair. Five years ago, Elly began to make a difference for cancer patients by helping her clients donate their hair to Locks of Love. Last April, Elly lost a great friend, Doug Beed, to cancer. Doug had asked all of his friends to donate 10 hours in his memory to fight cancer. Elly’s opportunity came as a volunteer for Every Woman Matters. Co-worker Randy Pilgrim also helped with the project. For three weekends, Elly and Randy worked before and after business hours to help make these lovely spokeswomen more beautiful for their photographs. Elly and Randy were touched by each woman’s story.

“Money cannot replace the feeling you get when you know you have made a difference. These women humbled me. I am grateful to have worked with each and every one of them.” – Elly Burton

Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Komen Montana
Since 1995, the Montana Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen Montana) has funded breast cancer screening, treatment and research to promote breast health throughout Montana. Komen Montana annually calls for proposals for projects in the areas of breast health and breast cancer education/outreach, screening or treatment targeting medically underserved Montana populations. In order to target grant awards and serve designated Montana populations, Komen Montana completed a statewide community profile in March of 2009.

Patricia K. Traci
Tricia is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin- Madison with majors in Film and Women Studies. In Los Angeles, she pursued a career in writing, directing, and editing. She also wrote comedy sketches, mostly on women’s issues, and developed a two-woman multi-media sketch show that played at L.A.’s top comedy theaters. Now in Missoula she uses her writing and filmmaking skills for community projects focused on women’s issues. She volunteered to produce the Every Woman Matters process evaluation video and short promotional film.

Return to top of page