Kelly Cantrell & Joy Misu Ulrich
Up Close
The Story
Kelly Cantrell
Kelly Cantrell
Bradley, Illinois
Insta: @kelly_cantrell FB: @kllycntrll
Survivor of Inflammatory breast cancer
Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed at 29 with a rare type of breast cancer: inflammatory breast cancer. Within months, I went from totally terrified to being so full of appreciation for life. Cancer changed me completely. I think I was just doing life before but now I’m really LIVING it! I appreciate more now than ever just being alive. I’m grateful for whatever life is giving me day to day. Facing your own mortality at 29 with a small child makes you really see the truly important things. I’m so grateful to be able to watch my daughter grow. Life is scary and fragile but it’s so, so beautiful! There are so many struggles I face day to day but I am reminded to go back to my appreciation for life. No matter how hard things get - and they can get very hard - I am alive and healthy and that is one of the most amazing gifts I could ever be given.
I can’t say that I’m grateful for cancer, but I am so grateful for all that it did for my life. I’m a completely different and better person for having gone through it.
Joy Misu Ulrich
Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok:
black pen on paper
105 cm x 75 cm
Artist Statement: I got matched with a powerful young woman named Kelly, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29.
As a woman myself, I felt really touched by her story and I am so thankful for the words and feelings she shared with me.

It was really clear to me, from the first conversation on, that her family and friends played a big role during her journey, so I made it my main focus.

The entire piece is made out of "squiggles" and lines, which represent life and how everything is connected; the good and the bad times.
The middle part is a detailed drawing of her daughter Savanna, back when she was little. „Savvy“ is wrapped in a blanket and Kelly is holding her in her hands, looking at her like the most precious thing she will ever touch. At this point, Kelly is in a hospital gown, tubes are inserted on her hands, but she is holding her daughter like everything is gonna be alright.

The “Not giving up“ represents the hand letting go in the bottom right corner.
In the upper part of the piece, you see two separate drawings. The one on the left side is her husband, and the other is Savanna and Kelly holding hands. At this point, Savanna is getting bigger and is now holding on to her mom and dad. The right side shows Kelly holding her daughter. The bottom left shows Savanna's hand in Kelly’s with the tattoo „Savvy“ where Kelly’s cancer bracelet used to be. Now Kelly learned to not take life for granted, she learned the value of good and true friends! And she also taught me a lot about how I should live more in the present than the future or what might happen.
Behind the Scenes
Show them some love and tell them how you feel.