We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Melody Lomboy-Lowe and Gracelyn Bateman. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Melody Lomboy-Lowe and below.
Melody Lomboy-Lowe joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
We have a series of books that we lovingly call the “Beyond Series.” It consists of “Beyond Remission: Words of Advice for Thriving” and “Beyond Grief: Snapshots of Life After Loss.”
Melody is childhood cancer survivor and has always wanted to photograph one hundred cancer survivors to give hope to newly diagnosed cancer patients. This large-scale photography project became “Beyond Remission” which shows what life after cancer looks like for survivors from all walks of life. This book is filled with advice, reflections, and words of encouragement to help fighters and care teams during their most challenging times. The visualization of diverse cancer survivors humanizes cancer and helps cancer fighters visualize their own remission as well. Through our nonprofit, Luna Peak Foundation, we have donated hundreds of copies of “Beyond Remission” to hospitals so that cancer patients can have a book of hope, inspiration, and community before their first chemo infusion.
Melody and Gracelyn are each grief survivors which inspired their second photography book, “Beyond Grief.” Similar to our first book, this book humanizes another taboo topic – grief. This is a book filled with 80 conversations about grief, survivor to survivor. Through portraits, mementos, stories and advice, we explore how a diverse array of grievers navigates and rebuilds after a life-changing loss.
We work in topics that are close to our hearts and each of these are books we wish we had during our experiences with cancer and grief. We aim to bring more representation and diversity to the cancer and grief spaces and uplift survivor stories that oftentimes go untold. The “Beyond Series” is the closest you can get to having a conversation with another survivor who “gets it” in the form of a book.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Luna Peak is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Luna Peak supports cancer fighters and grief survivors by providing them with resources to help them survive the hardships of a cancer diagnosis or losing a loved one. Our focus is on telling survivor stories and showing those in the cancer and grief communities that they are not alone. We bring to light the ways people navigate life’s challenges, while at the same time celebrate those experiences. Luna Peak books aim to inspire, give hope, and give back to the community. Luna Peak has donated hundreds of books to hospitals, support groups and therapist offices.
Melody was born and raised in Southern California in the small town of Sierra Madre. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age six and has been a cancer warrior ever since. She was given a 50% chance of survival and was treated at City of Hope for three years until age nine. Being a survivor at a time when not many survived set Melody on a course to help newly diagnosed cancer patients. Melody is a graduate of UC Irvine, where she was awarded a scholarship as a collegiate swimmer. She graduated with a double major in sociology and art history. Motivated by her cancer experience, she and her niece, Gracelyn Bateman, co-founded the nonprofit, Luna Peak Foundation Inc.
Gracelyn is passionate about understanding the life experiences of others. Her role at Luna Peak combines her educational background in Sociology with an opportunity to engage with people who have overcome obstacles in their lives. Gracelyn graduated with a B.S. in Sociology from Santa Clara University, and she received a master’s degree in Sociology from Columbia University. She spent five years working in digital marketing and media in New York City. After losing her father at age 26, it’s been a priority for her to expand research and uplift survivor stories within the grief community to help survivors and create a bigger conversation around how society deals with loss and supporting people through it.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
The most rewarding aspect of being a creative is giving a voice to those who historically have not been given a safe platform to share their story. It is a privilege to hear the life stories of others, oftentimes stories which they have not shared with anyone before, and to bring those stories to life for a wider audience. We are passionate about elevating voices of all backgrounds. In unearthing these authentic survivor stories, we have found that there is healing in sharing your own story, and knowing that your story is helping another heal. A secondary benefit from hosting these projects has been our own healing in listening to others and relating to their stories as well. All Luna Peak projects and books have created a ripple effect of healing for all involved.
Is there mission driving your creative journey?
We oftentimes need to see something ourselves to believe it. By utilizing photography combined with interviews, we are able to make these stories as real as possible for our readers. We show the eyes and faces of survivors who are sharing these words of inspiration, and hope readers can jump into their stories as we have. There is something different about reading a story and knowing who has shared it. There are many books on cancer and grief, however we were passionate about taking stories to the next level with photography. Some may assume that you cannot have a meaningful or happy life after a cancer diagnosis or the loss of a loved one. Our photos show you a different story. We show survivor smiles and their joys and celebrations as well as their hardships. Our mission is to show a holistic picture of what cancer and grief actually look like through the joys and sorrows and everything in between.
- Website: www.lunapeakfoundation.org / www.lunapeakpublishing.com
- Instagram: @lunapeakfoundation / @snapshotsoflifeafterloss / @lunapeakpublishing / @melodythrives / @glynbman
- Facebook: Luna Peak Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/lunapeakfoundation/ and Snapshots of Life After Loss https://www.facebook.com/SnapshotsOfLifeAfterLoss/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lunapeakfoundation/?viewAsMember=true
- Youtube: Luna Peak Foundation: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXbschWGoqJvS7g1OBppylg/featured?view_as=subscriber