Breast Cancer Survivor Barbara Stinson Turns to Nature and Photography

To most people, a flower is just a flower. To 70-year-old Barbara Stinson, flowers represent beauty, energy and positivity. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she has combined her passions of gardening and photography in her new book, “PINK PETALS: A Focus on Healing through a Gallery of Flowers.”

Each of the 80 pages of the book features an intimate photograph of a pink flower – a color, she says once was a mere fashion choice, but now has taken on a whole new meaning. Each picture is accompanied by an inspirational passage, which links artistic details of the flower to life lessons that she learned through her cancer experience.

“Doing this book has helped reaffirm my beliefs, my ability to see nature closer, to capture the moment,” she says. “It slows you down and makes you appreciate life. I just love nature.”

The retired music teacher grew up gardening at her family’s home near Cape Cod. She now has three of her own gardens at her home in Medway, MA. Fifteen years after being diagnosed,  Stinson attends the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber for routine appointments.

She says she hopes this book will bring pleasure and comfort to those who are going through treatment and recovery from breast cancer. She wants to “show them a new way to look at life with a focus on moving forward through the beauty of nature and pink petals.”

A sample from Pink Petals is featured below.

hearts united

Hearts United (Malva) – A cluster of petals, these hearts are united with a touch of pink


Strength (Cosmos) – Some pink petals atop a wispy stem emerge out of a sea of chaos. The focus is on the blossom, the pink blossom, holding firm with strength and endurance. We too, can rise above the calamity of the day and concentrate on a vision of where we want to be.



Perfection (Peony) – What a perfect creation! Lean in closer but hold your breath, for fear of displacing one tiny speck of pollen. Savor those moments of purity and perfection. Make them your own as you meditate and tap your soul for strength to believe in yourself.

mother and daughter


Mother and Daughter (Dahlia) – Sharing the same roots, sharing the same stem, the elegant dahlia and bud are a sight to behold. Take notice now, while it is vibrant and full of life. Make note of how it reached this point, through attention to details needed to have it mature to its full bloom. Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts … be vigilant in the attention needed to nurture and sustain your individual line and those with the same roots. Share your medical records with family members. Keep up with your tests. Do your part to escort your loved ones into longevity.



Hope (Cosmos) – Towering above my head, the flowers glow against the gray sky as if looking toward heaven to ask God for answers, for guidance, for a cure.