Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Cancer Shmancer? Making A Difference With Your Mouse

Published on July 20, 2011 by   ·   11 Comments Pin It
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Cancer. We all know what it is and hear about it in the news on a daily basis, yet very few of us truly understand what it means to live with cancer and be a survivor. The daily struggles, fear and anxiety are rarely, if ever, seen. More often than not, eyes are averted, ears are closed and fear keeps people away when a cancer patient needs support the most. Here Barefoot Tiger Kendra Coppey tells a personal story about one of her dearest friends, and a little something you can do to make a difference in one life.

You might be tempted to stop reading here. I can only hope you will continue…it could change your life, or the life of someone you love.While I have been fortunate so far in my life to not have had cancer, a dear friend of mine, Jennifer, was re-diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April 2010. Her husband, Angelo, is a prolific photographer who has been documenting her battle with this disease in an effort to bring more awareness and compassion to those struggling with the disease.

Jennifer and Angelo are extraordinary people who are part of an extraordinary couple – courageous, determined and warmhearted through this incredibly difficult ordeal.
In Angelo’s words, he describes their story:“In September of 2007, I married the girl of my dreams. Five months later, Jennifer was diagnosed with Stage 3B Breast Cancer. Completely numb and in a state of disbelief, we entered the world of cancer. A double mastectomy, four months of chemotherapy, five weeks of daily radiation, reconstructive surgery and finally we were told that Jennifer was free of cancer. It was just after our first anniversary.Cancer, however, opted again to interrupt our life. Some two years after Jen’s initial diagnosis, we received news that the breast cancer had metastasized to her liver, hip and sacrum. Jennifer now lives with the diagnosis of chronic cancer: until there is a cure for cancer, Jen will always have to receive some type of treatment.

During our battle, we have been blessed with an incredible support group. Nonetheless, most people are not aware of the challenges that we face every day. We often hear: “Jen looks healthy, glad that things are back to normal.” Little do they know that she is in chronic pain from the side effects of 3-plus-years of treatment and medications. Or that we face fear, anxiety and worry daily. Few know that Jen has to give herself shots every day into her abdomen. She has to use a walker and cane and is exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump, bruise or twitch. She has to do special exercises to fight off lymphedema. The frequent doctor visits lead to battles with hospitals and insurance companies. Pain has sent her back to the hospital twice, for week-long stays.

Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and we can feel our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we have to live with everyday?

My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They detail the treatments forced into and onto her body, through the visible scars. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness, loneliness and also love that we face, that Jennifer faces, as she battles this disease. These photographs do not define us, but they are us. Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, kinder empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.”

In an effort to create awareness on a deeper level, Angelo decided to enter his photo documentary into the One Life Photo Competition to spread his message.

This is where the GG Army troops come in! Voting is one part of the competition and is open until July 29th.  Take time to check out his documentary and if you feel moved to do so, please VOTE!  Daily!!! You can vote every 24 hours and even vote more than once by using multiple devices (smartphone, ipad, computer) – no email address or registration required. Share it on facebook, twitter, email it to friends, post it anywhere you can.

OUR GOAL IS TO REACH 15,000 VOTES BY 7/29/11! To see the photos and VOTE: bopmo.see.me/onelife2011

To read Jen and Angelo’s story and see more photos, which are continuously updated: angelomerendino.com

Please join the troops and help. They are not asking for donations, just a click of your mouse.

Kendra Coppey is the Director and Founder of Barefoot Tiger, a mobile company of fun-loving, inspired and healthy yoga teachers, massage therapists and personal trainers in NYC, all with the same goal: to teach and inspire others to live healthy lives, in the comfort of their own homes.

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Readers Comments (11)

  1. Colleen Dangerfield says:

    Thank you Kendra for putting this on your website!!!

  2. Kendra says:

    Thanks Colleen, and I must thank Chloe and Girlie Girl Army for posting!!

  3. Larry Wise says:

    What a great Friend you are to help make this awareness more visible. Some choose to ignore friends with this dreadful disease and don’t know what they are doing to their friendship with Jennifer and Angelo. You couldn’t meet two more loving and caring people. All of this in spite of their daily challenges. I only hope and pray that what you have done and continue to do will help spread this message.

  4. Kendra says:

    It’s the least I can do for two of the most amazing people I know. I also hope this project brings great awareness and touches a lot of people…

  5. tofucute says:

    and don’t forget the immense stress of having to pay for all these treatments. that alone can really damage the spirit and will to fight.

  6. Misty says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Recently have had two friends diagnosed with Melanoma and Brest cancer, one had a double mascetomy two weeks ago.. It is my first time with knowing anyone with cancer and I now have a better understanding and awareness not only through nmy friends, but this article. I plan on reading more about this couple and their journey. Thank you, it is a very personal and courageous thing to share yourself in this way, but it inspires and helps others.

  7. Anne P says:

    Kendra,

    Thanks for sharing this incredible story. These photographs truly encompass the metaphorical saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The photo of Jennifer hailing a cab with the probing stare of a random passerby is especially resonating. I will vote for Angelo’s submissions, and send out positivity and prayers their way.

  8. Angelo says:

    thank you everyone. jen and i are thankful for all of the love and support!
    misty, i am happy that you have learned from this, that means the world. if you would like to read jen’s blog, it is http://www.mylifewithbreastcancer.wordpress.com
    i will keep you friends in my thoughts.
    angelo

  9. Kendra says:

    Hey everyone,
    Thank you so much for all of your support in reaching over 11,000 votes!

    Just wanted to mention that voting has been extended to 8/19, so we still have time to make it to 15,000 votes!

  10. thank you for sharing your story.




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