June 30, 2022

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Unveiling of the world’s first statue of a woman with incurable breast cancer in front of the Norwegian Parliament

The bronze statue of Cecilie (44), a mother of three living with incurable breast cancer, was created to raise awareness about a group of patients unfamiliar to many.

“Breast cancer is the form of cancer with the best prognosis. Therefore, the focus is mostly on survival when we talk about the disease. With this statue, we hope to raise awareness about patients with incurable breast cancer,” says Ellen Harris Utne, chair of the board of the Norwegian Breast Cancer Society.

Every year, around 600 Norwegian women die of metastatic breast cancer. This form of cancer is incurable, and there are only life-prolonging medications.

Ellen Harris Utne emphasizes that focusing on survival is essential when discussing breast cancer. At the same time, many find that the focus on “beating cancer” makes being diagnosed with incurable breast cancer a taboo. When breast cancer spreads to other organs, beating it is no longer a possibility. Breast cancer can be a fight one can “win,” but it is also a disease that not everyone survives.

The Norwegian Breast Cancer Society wants to raise awareness about patients with incurable breast cancer. Therefore, in collaboration with The Association of Norwegian Sculptors, The Norwegian Breast Cancer Society has commissioned Håkon Anton Fagerås, one of Norway’s foremost figurative sculptors, to make a bronze statue of Cecilie, a Norwegian mother of three. Cecilie was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer when she was 42 years old. The statue is a gift from the real estate developer Eiendomsspar to the Norwegian Breast Cancer Society.

The statue was unveiled at Eidsvoll square, in front of Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament, on 20 June. Mayor Marianne Borgen led the ceremony, and chair Ellen Harris Utne unveiled the artwork.

The statue “Cecilie” is exhibited on Eidsvoll square for a week before being moved to its permanent location in Spikersuppa, a stone’s throw from the Storting.

A monument and an invitation

Cecilie lives in Lambertseter, a suburb of Oslo. She is 44 years old and has three children aged 21, 19, and 9. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Cecilie has worked to convey her story to others through the Norwegian Breast Cancer Society. By being open about her condition, Cecilie also hopes to make the situation less difficult for her children to deal with.

“Cecilie faces the disease with open eyes, determination, and an unbelievably brave vulnerability,” says Harris Utne.

The chair is pleased that Håkon Anton Fagerås’ statue of Cecilie was unveiled in front of the Storting, and hopes the artwork will help raise awareness about this vulnerable group of patients.

“This statue is a monument to women with metastatic breast cancer and a call to all of us to give extra care, attention, and support to the affected patients, ” says Harris Utne.

Please note: Due to her illness, Cecilie is unavailable to the press in connection with the unveiling. The Breast Cancer Association requests that all inquiries be directed directly to them.

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