• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'It's important people are confronted with cancer'

Alex Evans · 24 Apr 2014, 15:07

Published: 24 Apr 2014 15:07 GMT+02:00

Proksch-Park, from Bredehorn in Lower Saxony, started her "Flugkraft" (Power to Fly) photo project at the beginning of last year and its Facebook community now has nearly 21,000 members.

The 35-year-old visits the families of children suffering from cancer and photographs the youngsters in their element - playing, posing, messing about - but almost always looking happy or defiant.

The idea is to help sufferers gain confidence and work towards breaking the taboo surrounding cancer in society, she told The Local.

"I think it is important people are confronted with it [cancer], because at the moment it somehow gets shut out," she said. "Those affected often hide themselves away and that is very harmful."

The project started as a favour to a friend. "At the beginning of 2013 I took a photo of my friend's child who suffered from cancer, and she loved the picture so much I began to consider doing the same for other families," she said.

Since then she has done photo shoots for 11 families on the record, as well as several others who chose not to be named by the project.

"We drink coffee, talk a lot, muck about a bit and play, then we take fun pictures," she said.

CLICK HERE to see some of the photos

And any inhibitions she has about taking photos of strangers' cancer-suffering children don't last long.

"Initially I tend to be a bit nervous, but as soon as I arrive that melts away, and I'm always welcomed with open arms," she said.

Flugkraft has taken off in terms of support and exposure far more than Proksch-Park initially expected.

"The media attention helps a lot with implementing my ideas, and it gives both me and sufferers the strength to fight on," she said.

"I never would have thought it, but I take everything as it comes and I'll take every opportunity to make this project more famous."

And that is an aim that should be served well by the project's next stage.

"We're planning exhibitions. A big one is planned for the start of next year at the European Parliament in Brussels," she told The Local.

Story continues below…

The project also works with adult cancer sufferers, offering photography workshops aimed at letting patients express themselves.

"It's difficult to get through to both young and adult sufferers because they hold themselves back a great deal," Proksch-Park said. "We decided to offer make-up and photo workshops. They allow sufferers to get to know each other, to learn to make themselves up favourably and then take beautiful photos."

The fear and stress of suffering with cancer, and the isolation caused by the taboo surrounding the disease, can sap patients' self-esteem, and this is what Flugkraft aims to combat, she said.

"We want to give sufferers back their self-confidence and show them they don't have to hide away any more," the photographer added.

SEE ALSO: Skier beats cancer to return to Winter Olympics

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd