In Memory of D’Ana Reed. Founder. Mutant. Sister. Friend.

 

D and Court

D’Ana and her sister Courtney helped found Living LFS. They soon became our mutant sisters as we worked to bring those living LFS together. D’Ana lived fully and completely and shared her positive energy and laughter with anyone she ran across from childhood friends, to chemosabes(chemo friends) to her mutant family. The way D’Ana lived is very much the foundation of Living LFS and refected in our core values: Community, Compassion, Respect, Integrity and Levity. D’Ana had brilliant ideas and was the first we’d go to when we needed ideas. She came up with the idea for our first T-shirt fundraiser- Have You Hugged A MUTANT Today?

D tre mills ramer mutant

She was the first to pack up and hit the road to visit a friend in need, her mutant family just gave her many more opportunities and these connections were so valuable, she wanted others to have the experience too. After many years of living with metastatic breast cancer, D’Ana passed away, as she lived, with the ones she loved most right there. We lost more than a mutant sister that day.

 

Courtney shared with us D’Ana’s words of wisdom and we know she’d want us to share them with you.

 

My sister and I have shared a lot of things over the years, but of all the things I could have possibly shared with her, a genetic disorder that makes you prone to multiple cancers certainly was not on the list. I wish this was one of the things I could have hidden from her so she couldn’t have it, like the “good Barbies” and other toys I used to stash in order to keep them from her clutches. If I could go back in time, I would much rather share those than share this. But we are here now together as Mutant Sisters and making the best of it. So I will share with you a few things that I have shared with her in hopes that you too will be able to find some bright spots on your journey.

Surround yourself with POSITIVE ENERGY.  A positive attitude and keeping company with positive people can and will get you through anything. Sure we all have bad days…we’re entitled, but try not to let them weigh you down.

BE SELFISH! Now is not the time for you to take care of the needs of others, they should be   reminding you to take care of yourself so you can be as healthy and happy as possible.

LAUGHTER is a daily necessity. Cancer is no laughing matter, but let’s face it…isn’t everything a little bit easier when done with a smile and a little bit of giggling?

LIVE life FULLY AND COMPLETELY. Be proud of who you are and the fact that you are a fighter. Keep trying new things, meeting new people, traveling and experiencing all that life has to offer.

-D’Ana Reed


Mutant Vs Monster: Andi Last’s Tale of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome


My name is Andi Last. That’s my husband Jay Last in the video with me. I’m the mutant, and he’s my warrior.

In March 2015, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not long after, I learned that I have a very rare inherited disorder called Li Fraumeni Syndrome, or LFS, which makes me prone to getting all kinds of different cancers.

In simple terms, we’re all born with two copies of a cancer suppressing gene called TP53, one passed down from each of our parents. In families with LFS, one of those genes is mutated. That’s why some of us call ourselves mutants.

Music, photography and video are things we really enjoy, so doing them was a huge help for both of us in dealing with all of this.

A few months after the worst of the chemo was over, we drove to the desert to photograph Ricardo Breceda’s giant metal sculptures in Borrego Springs, California. The sand serpent really caught our imaginations. While taking photos I said it’d be great to shoot Jay as a knight fighting it with his sword.

He said really I should be fighting it because it reminded him of the monster I’d been dealing with.

I realized he was right, the sculpture is a good analogy for LFS: it’s a massive 350 foot long scary monster with a dragon’s head, a serpent’s body and a rattlesnake tail. It pops up out of the sand and disappears again and you never know where it’s going to show up next.

Li Fraumeni Syndrome is also a massive, scary monster. It can cause many of different kinds of cancer, in kids, adults, and entire families. If you have LFS you might get multiple types of cancer throughout your life – or even at one time.

Since I’m not fighting LFS alone, we decided we would fight the monster together in photos as well. And thus, the Mutant Vs Monster project was born.

Over a few months we put together costumes and did a series of shoots with the sculpture in the desert. What we thought would be a few pictures turned into a much larger project.

It was an expression of our creativity and a way to deal with some pretty lousy circumstances, but it has also turned into a great opportunity to raise awareness and support for LFS.

You can visit http://MutantVsMonster.com to see these photos and read our story. And you can make donations to the LFS Association, and to Living LFS, which is a mutant support organization. And we mutants thank you!

Mutant vs Monster

 

Special Mutant thanks to Andi Last and her husband Jay.  For more of their work check out Lastproductions.net.