The naked truth
Updated 10:00 AM ET, Fri March 31, 2017
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(CNN)Behind the double-mastectomy scars that run across her bare chest, she had a story to tell.
So late last April, Paulette Leaphart embarked on a 1,000-mile walk from her childhood hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, to the halls of Congress in Washington.
And she did it topless.
The breast cancer survivor screamed for a cure and demanded better and more affordable health care. She wanted women without breasts to believe in their beauty and be proud of their strength. By showcasing and embracing her scars, she hoped to inspire others to do the same.
Her journey was bold, visual, moving. It offered a hero to admire and, given Paulette's audacious decision to walk shirtless in the face of strangers, a rich spectacle to witness. It spoke to African-American women, who face the highest breast cancer mortality rate. It inspired legions of survivors. And it spoke to many who'd lost someone to the disease.
It seemed a storyteller's dream. But reality would eventually intrude.
Documentary filmmakers were first to seize on Paulette's potential -- after she approached a producer who was out on a shoot,