“Tit’ll Be All Right”. Tara Simmons has been dropping a lot of boob puns into general conversation in the last few weeks, this particular one being the title of an online group she hosts, posting updates to all her closest. Those who know her well will quickly agree that she often indulges a healthy overshare, but this is different and something that demonstrates clear bravery and a tongue in cheek ability to laugh in the face of adversity while tackling the life threatening. That’s just the Tara way.
Life was normal. Actually, for the first time, everything was kind of perfect. Work was rewarding, her masters had just begun, the creative musical juices were flowing again, she was finally a solo homeowner and had begun renovating. And, to top it off, her right thumb was in a satisfying state of RSI from all that Tindering over the past couple of years. For the first time, in a very long time, Tara was perfectly happy.
It moved so quick. Tara noticed a small change and promptly she went to the doctor the next day. 24 hours later, and the news no one wants to hear - she had breast cancer. ‘The Big C’. One week later, chemo started.
An outpouring of love and support from family and friends quickly began while Tara remained brave, almost preferring to perfect the headscarf look and beautifully rocking a strong Sinead do (a good-looking noggin really ought to be applauded). But the seriousness is confronting and the reality devastating - she has multiple tumours in the left breast along with malignant lymph nodes. She’ll be hit with a brutal six month chemotherapy regime, followed by a mastectomy and radiation. Her doctors told her she’ll be forced out of work for six to 12 months while undergoing these treatments. Fiercely independent and in true Tara style, she is adamant to attempt as much work as she possibly can in this time. But there are bills. Lots of bills.
She needs you. Tara isn’t one to ask for help during times like this, in fact she has insinuated we don’t do this at all. So, defiantly, we have to do it for her. It’s the only way we know how to help and everyone around Tara - even more than she realises - is overwhelmed with the need to be there. The reality of our health system and her lack of ability to take on her usual workload has seen her bank accounts drained and is quickly sucking Tara’s resources. Needless to say, this stuff ain’t cheap.
We will all be doing what we can in the coming months - we might even plan an event or two. But in the meantime, please give what you can, share far and wide and support someone who has enriched so many - with your help, she can continue to do so.
Words by Ben Preece.
Boob pattern by Emily Nelson.
Portraits of Tara by Sally Molloy and Julie Simmons
- Prue Mann
- Sophie Weisselberg
- Sarah Bensen