Roanoke, Va. -

A Roanoke woman's art helped her through a battle with cancer. Now, this photographer's work is going on display Saturday to help the Roanoke Rescue Mission.

Roanoke photographer Kendra Portnova can recall the exact date she was diagnosed with colon cancer.

"It was November 13, 2007," Portnova said. "It was quite a blow for my family and it was very emotional."

Taking photographs, writing a blog and faith helped Portnova get through her 12 months of treatment which included chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Now seven years cancer-free her journey is reflected in her work.  One photograph called glimmer of hope was taken near the end of her cancer treatment.  It shows the sun reflecting on the water at sunset.

"It's the reflection. The sun was setting in South Carolina. I was there with my husband," said Portnova. "It was that glimmer of hope that you need during your journey to get you through."

Much of Portnova's work highlights her Roanoke Valley roots- with shots from the Transportation museum and the ferris wheel at the Salem Fair.

This wife and mother of two boys also makes necklaces with her photographs.  One hangs around her neck as she describes the process.  It begins with resizing the photograph to make it small. 

She then puts a resin type sticker over the photograph.  On the "glimmer of hope" necklace she's wearing she has added shells and a stamped metal piece with the inscription "glimmer of hope."

Portnova also makes whimsical refrigerator magnets featuring her photographs of Roanoke landmarks.  One shows the Mill Mountain Star.   Others include the Texas Tavern, the Dr. Pepper sign,  Roanoke's Fire Station Number One, and the Taubman Museum.

One photograph Portnova has taken is quite possibly the most moving. It's one she entered in a contest.  It's a black and white photograph she took of herself.

"It was like a self portrait of myself with all my hospital bands on my arms in a prayer position," Portnova said. "And it won."

That photograph was shown in Washington, D.C. along with artwork from other cancer survivors and from family members and caregivers of cancer patients from around the nation.   The artwork was also published in a book.

Portnova will be at the Roanoke Rescue Mission Second Helpings Gallery on Williamson Road Saturday afternoon from 1pm until 3pm.   Her photographs and jewelry will be on sale.  Part of the proceeds from her work benefits the Roanoke Rescue Mission.

PHOTOS: Photography by Kendra Portnova

POSTED: 07:11 PM EDT Jul 11, 2014 

Photography helped a Roanoke woman while she battled cancer.

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