Color & Control:

Kate’s Story


On Interactive Photo CD

“Kate Sawford stands outside the operating room, poised to take her last walk on two legs. A blue hospital gown hangs from her thin body. Her bald head shines in the fluorescent light. In a few minutes she will walk through the doors, lie down on a table, and drift off to sleep. When she wakes up eight hours later, the tumour in her left leg will be gone. So will her knee and most of her thigh.”

“Kate’s Story,” a photo essay by Cathie Coward with text by Sharon Oosthoek, is unique. It tells the story of how a 13-year-old Dundas, Ontario, girl’s life changed dramatically by Ewing’s Sarcoma — a rare and fast-moving cancer of the connective tissue — and the resultant surgery that removed much of her leg. This rare operation, a Van Nes Rotation, removed the cancerous tumour in Kate’s left thigh bone and reattached her calf to her upper thigh — after first rotating it 90 degrees. Kate’s ankle now takes the place of her knee, and makes it easier for her to use her prosthesis to be virtually as active as she was before her cancer.

Cathie Coward and Sharon Oosthoek followed Kate around for about a year and used 100 black-and-white photos and audio interviews with Kate, her family, friends and doctor to portray her experience in an honest way. They had heard that Kate was “feisty” — she delayed her chemotherapy to play her violin at a local busking festival in order to raise money for the cancer ward at McMaster University Medical Centre. They also found Kate to be a bright, warm and personable young girl.
There is another reason why “Kate’s Story” is unique: In addition to being a photo book, it is an interactive PhotoCD, produced by Southam Inc. in partnership with Oz New Media Inc. The CD uses a combination of black-and-white photos, graphics and sound. This is the first commercial Kodak PhotoCD Portfolio project in Canada and it is the first time that a book and CD have been created simultaneously.

The CD allows users to view photos while listening to the story. The software creates a digital slide show with voice-overs of Kate, her family, friends and surgeon. Users can choose to play the story from beginning to end or they can view individual segments of the story, such as the operation. The PhotoCD can be played on an IBM or Macintosh computer’s CD drive or on a PhotoCD player connected to a television set.

Two per cent of the sales revenue of the book and PhotoCD is being donated to the Kate Sawford Foundation, a charitable organization set up by Kate for the families of children with cancer. The foundation helps to pay incidental costs of hospital visits like parking and meals.

“Kate’s Story” by Cathie Coward and Sharon Oosthoek, published by Oz New Media Inc. and Southam Inc., is 116 pages with 100 black-and-white photos and costs $24.95 as a trade paperback and interactive Kodak PhotoCD. ISBN 1-896295-04-5.


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