Rhode Island artists team up for breast cancer awareness project

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI (WPRI) — The rough and tumble world of graffiti had a brush with the delicate struggle tied to breast cancer – as a crew of local artists painted a touching picture for a survivor.

You might be riding or running too fast through the tunnel on the South County bike path to notice, but the message is vital according to the big man in the middle of it all, Paul Morse.

“Its been a war. Its been a fight,” Morse said, referring to his fiance’s struggle.

Morse’s team of artists from across the area wants anyone who sees the art to understand the battle. His girl, Rebecca Repoza, is a smiling example of what it takes to fight back.

She kept fighting and she never, ever, ever gave up. And she’s my hero.”

“I just hit my five year mark,” Repoza said. “This is the best year of my life. To have it celebrated with a kick-off like this is fabulous.”

Morse was there for Repoza as she faced the various levels of adversity that cancer brings.

“We’ve had some hard times. Through it all she kept smiling,” Morse said. “She kept fighting and she never, ever, ever gave up. And she’s my hero.”

Morse will tell you even if you don’t know anyone ravaged by the disease, statistics indicate that you will.

“It’s going to affect each and every one of us at some point, whether it’s your sister or your aunt or you cousin. Somebody you know is going to come down with the disease. It’s important to come up with a cure,” Morse said.

Justin Estrella came from Westport to help his friend and their fellow graffiti artists create the masterpiece.

“It’s in my family. My grandmother had it this year,” Estrella said. “She’s still dealing with it.”

Repoza made it to remission but her best friend, Lori Brown, who was diagnosed just two weeks after her, lost the fight last year.

“For breast cancer survivors and fighters and people we’ve lost because of the disease, it’s just an important topic that lives close to our hearts,” Repoza said.

According to the breast cancer research foundation, 2015 was expected to bring more than 230,000 more cases of breast cancer across the country. But statistics also indicate that with early detection, the survival rate is above 90%.

Send your story ideas to Walt at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow us on Twitter:@StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.

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