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Cancer survivors take center stage

Ten women are taking the stage at the Mesa Arts Center to share their stories of survival. Each one has had cancer.

Together they are putting on “A 2nd Act,” a performance where each woman will share her story of survival and the meaning of life after cancer. Much like the “Vagina Monologues” the storytelling is carefully curated to create a moving experience.

Judy Pearson is the founder A2ndAct.org and she is also a cancer survivor.

“One of the most difficult parts of the cancer journey is making sense of it—what you’re supposed to do next, how it fits in with your life,” she said.

“A 2nd Act” gives these women an opportunity to heal and be healing. By sharing their unique experiences they are changing perspectives on how cancer is perceived. At least that’s what Pearson hopes it will do.

“These 10 women will change what you believe about cancer,” she said.

It also helps them with healing as well.

“Women and men heal differently — and it’s not to say that men don’t also give back, they just do it in different ways. But women heal through communication, nurturing and collaboration. So I wanted to create a way for these stories to be told,” Pearson said.

She adds that you can create a second act from any obstacle in your live, be it cancer, a divorce, or the loss of a loved one.

The cast was carefully selected in April. Pearson said it was difficult selecting only 10 women.

“They’re not professional actors—but the cast is selected to give an overall diverse representation,” Pearson said. “Diverse ages, diverse ethnicities, diverse cancers, diverse tones so that we have a really well-rounded cast. It’s not, ‘Oh these were the best,’ because believe me they were all amazing.”

The show is not intended to be sad, although it will move you, Pearson said.

“Some of the stories are humorous, some are a little irreverent, they are all amazingly inspiring.”

See the show at the Mesa Arts Center on Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 and are available online at A2ndAct.org or at the door.

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