Touched By Cancer

Last week I was on top of the world when I heard my cousin was in Remission!! When we discovered he had Cancer at such a young age I think we were all shocked by it and a few weeks later we discovered my grandmother also has cancer. Its been a really tough time for us all but I think its taught us to appreciate each other and live in the moment.

Over a year ago my housemate Pete lost his battle to Cancer, he was diagnosed in December 2009 and within a year it claimed his life at the tender age of just 20. He had an amazing positive attitude and when I visited him he showed me his scrapbook of how he was making an art project documenting his journey through cancer. He was studying illustration and he was damn good at it, he would always make little comic strips at home or sketch us while we were sitting watching TV. I was so amazed by how even in Cancer he found the silver lining, he somehow found a way to turn what was happening to him into a work of art. He was so full of life and I was lucky to know him, there is never a day that goes by where I don’t think of him.

Today I stumbled on the touching story of a man named Angelo Merendino. He married a lady named Jennifer and 5 months after they married she was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after their one year anniversary they were given the amazing news that she was cleared of cancer. Unfortunately the cancer came back in her brain and after just 4 years of their life together, she died at the age of 40.

Angelo decided to make a photo documentary, “The Battle We Didn’t Choose” following her fight against cancer. Angelo began the project as a way for family and friends in Ohio to understand what Jennifer was experiencing after phone calls and e-mails didn’t seem to portray the intensity of the situation — or produce a response.

Although she found it difficult being the subject of his project she said ‘I don’t want to hide anything, I want to help others — not just women, but anyone with cancer.’”
Angelo wants the world to know Jennifer’s story, he said, things about Jennifer that he loved. For instance, in the midst of her turmoil, she started a dragon boat racing team for cancer survivors.
“I want people to know about real heroes, someone who had something thrown at her and responded. That kind of hero.” He also wants people to appreciate every moment. He wants women to get mammograms and men to do self-checks. He wants people to be more aware of others’ suffering — to know that sometimes you don’t have to know what to say. Sometimes you just say, “I love you.”

He will exhibit his work in New York on January 26. And he’ll continue working as a documentary photographer. I have attached some of Angelo’s photos, you can see the rest on his site (theres a link above)

We can all help by donating to cancer charities, in the last few years cancer treatment has really advanced to be able to save lives like my cousins and that is all through donations that enable scientists to research new treatments.

This is the hospital that helped support Pete and they have there own charity: http://www.uclhcharity.org.uk/dons.html

Here is a link to Cancer Research: http://supportus.cancerresearchuk.org/

Every little helps, remember by donating you could be saving lives and stopping people in the future going through what Angelo had to.

Zohra x

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