AI photos show people with cancer their lost future

2 weeks ago 19

Oge Onwuachu at her at her son's graduation in 2025Image source, Jillian Edelstein/ Breast Cancer Now

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Using a combination of photography and AI, participant Oge Onwuachu was able to see herself at her son's graduation in 2025

Anyone living with an incurable illness faces the agony of fearing they will miss out on future precious moments with their family.

From attending a child's wedding to taking a special holiday, 10 people living with secondary breast cancer have been given a glimpse into a future they know they may not live to see.

Using AI and photos taken by renowned photographer Jillian Edelstein, the images make up the Gallery of Hope at London's Saatchi Gallery.

Louise Hudson, from Caldicot, Monmouthshire, is one of those who took part.

Like all the other participants, Louise has secondary breast cancer, which occurs when cancer cells spread from the breast to other parts of the body, making the disease treatable, but incurable.

Now 58, she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2022 which then spread to her liver. In February an MRI scan showed lesions on her brain and she was told she had a life expectancy of about six months.

Louise's image at the exhibition shows her celebrating her 60th birthday by performing with her amateur dance company Chelsea Ballet, while her husband of 30 years Barry looks on with pride.

Image source, Jillian Edelstein/ Breast Cancer Now

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Louise's photo shows her dancing on her 60th birthday

Seeing it for the first time was understandably emotional.

"The photo was just amazing... it was just beautiful, just beautiful," she said.

"Seeing it was overwhelming, but overwhelming in a good way."

Some may assume seeing yourself in a future you have been told you are unlikely to make would be unbearably sad but Louise said she found it mostly inspiring.

"There is that sort of [thought], 'I really wanna make it, I really wanna make it' but a lot of people are saying with my positive attitude there's no reason why I can't, so I'm taking each day as it comes," she said.

Others photographed for the exhibition also chose to see themselves with loved ones on occasions they fear they may not live to see.

Image source, Jillian Edelstein/ Breast Cancer Now

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Katie Enell, one of the ten people photographed for the exhibition, is shown with her partner on their wedding day in 2025

Katie Enell's images show her with her partner Liam on their wedding day in 2025.

Katie, 31, who has an eight-year-old son, Theo, and lives in Liverpool, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer after getting a recurring pain in her shoulder.

She is on a range of different treatments to keep the cancer from spreading further.

Oge Onwuachu's image shows her at her son's graduation day in 2025 where she "couldn't be prouder as I'm stood with all my brilliant children".

Oge, who lives in Chatham in Kent and works as a teacher, first discovered a lump in February 2019 but it wasn't until a second trip to the doctor 10 months later that she was told she had cancer which had already spread.

She has been having PHESGCO injections for the past four years which allows her to lead a happy and productive life.

Image source, Jillian Edelstein/ Breast Cancer Now

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Helena Awuakye chose to see herself at her son's wedding day in 2030

Helena Awuakye's image shows her at her son Josh's wedding day in 2030.

"I couldn't be prouder as we share a moment, just the two of us, before the ceremony begins," she said.

Helena, a dentist who lives in Newport, is a fitness fanatic.

Before her secondary breast cancer diagnosis in 2021 she would run half marathons and believes strongly her commitment to keeping fit has definitely helped with her treatment.

Image source, Jillian Edelstein/ Breast Cancer Now

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Bec wanted to see herself at her 50th birthday party with her two young daughters

Bec Brown, 46, chose to see herself with her children at her 50th birthday party in 2028.

A keen poet, she lives in Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire with her husband and their two young daughters.

She first noticed a lump while breastfeeding and was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2021.

Nine months later, following chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a mastectomy, she was told that the cancer had spread to her bones.

Simon Vincent, from Breast Cancer Now, said he hoped the exhibition would highlight that more research was crucial for the estimated 61,000 people in the UK living with secondary breast cancer.

"For people living with secondary breast cancer, the prospect of missing future precious moments is agonising," he said.

"This exhibition hits home just how much more needs to be done... so that people with the disease live to see the future moments that matter so much to them."

For Louise, the experience has been one she will cherish.

"I've met some inspirational ladies in the same position as me - the Gallery of Hope was probably the most amazing thing I've done," she said.

She is continuing to keep herself busy - as well as arranging her funeral, she has also planned for her and Barry to renew their wedding vows in front of 200 friends and family in August. Then in September she wants to have a big party - "a living wake".

"I may have cancer but I'm having the time of my life," she said.

"I know I'm not going to be around for a long time so I am going to have a bloody good time and I'm going to be dragged kicking and screaming."

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