Teen Cancer Survivor Speaks Out After Her Chemo Scar Was Edited Out Of Yearbook Photos Without Her Consent

Photo: Facebook
Allison Hale

16-year-old Indiana resident Allison Hale and cancer survivor was devastated to see that her yearbook photo had been edited to remove her chemotherapy port (vein-access device) scar. Hale had ordered untouched photos. 

“I wore a sweater to specifically show off my port scar. I love showing it off, I’m not ashamed of it. We all know, I’ve gone through Hell and back this last year, and I want to show off my proof of life and winning. I don’t want it covered up. I don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed by it,” Hale said in a Facebook post.

However, her chemo scar was photoshopped out of her yearbook photo.

“But seemingly, scars are uncomfortable. Scars are unacceptable. Scars are something to be hidden and to be embarrassed about," she continued, sharing the edited photos.

"Of course, it’s okay to feel this way. But I personally do not, hence why we checked 'no touch up' on the order form. Yet here we have a touched up photo, covering up the trauma I find beautiful and hold, quite literally, so close to my heart” Hale continued.   

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She is now inspired to share her story in the hopes that it helps others embrace their scars. 

Hale was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2020 before Christmas and started treatment at Indianapolis’ Riley Children’s Hospital in January where she endured five rounds of chemotherapy and 20 sessions of radiation therapy.

After her first round of treatment she shaved her head and vowed to take control of as much as she could, including her chemotherapy port. 

"I wasn't really self-conscious of having the port because that was the access to heal me, to cure me. That's not something that I want to try to hide because that saved my life" Hale said to People.

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By July she was officially cancer-free. Then in mid-August it was yearbook photo day. 

"It was an incredibly important day," she told People. "Because at one point you're like, 'Okay, I may never have another birthday again or another yearbook photo.' I was just so ecstatic to have another picture and to be able to show the new person, the stronger Allison, that I had become."  

However, when the photo arrived a few weeks later, Hale immediately called the photographers to resolve the issue. 

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In a Facebook post from September 23, 2021 Hale said, “I look forward to seeing the raw, beautiful young lady I know I am who needs no touch up. But I just wanted to say that scars are nothing that should be hidden, or covered, or edited. Every single body has a scar somewhere, and that’s beautiful.” 

Hale is now looking forward to pursuing forensic psychology in college and says the yearbook photo experience gave her a renewed perspective on her scar. 

"When I look at my scar now, I feel incredibly empowered, stronger than I ever thought I could be. I feel like a beautiful person, not even just looking in the mirror, but just thinking about who I am and how I'm trying to better myself" Hale said.  

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Sydney Taylor is a writer who focuses on News and Entertainment topics.