Thursday 18 January 2018

Widower publishes heartbreaking photo journal of wife's fight with breast cancer

"Six years ago today Jennifer and I were married in Central Park. I am celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary by releasing our story, The Battle We Didn't Choose."
"Before I met Jen I didn't believe in myself and I was struggling to figure out my purpose in life. Jen changed all of this...she encouraged me to follow my dreams and to trust my gut. Jen believed in me, even when I didn't. We were best friends and Jen taught me so much about life, Love, and happiness. I still remember the way the air felt when I made this photograph."
"Jen and me, 2006, Pre-cancer. I can still feel Jen's skin pressing against mine."
Jen, 2011. Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful.
"Jen and my dad, 2011. My dad is a 20 year lung cancer survivor. And he's a joker. At my parent's 60th wedding anniversary he told Jen to get her wigs and they posed for this portrait. He wore the wig so well that my mom, who was standing about 40 feet away told one of my sisters, "I'm not sure who that woman is over there but she keeps smiling at me." Laughter, indeed, is a wonderful medicine."
"In 2011 Jen and I started to share our story. Almost immediately we began to receive emails from all over the world. One woman shared that because of Jennifer she overcame her fear and scheduled a mammogram. This is when we knew our story could help others. As a man, I can only imagine how frightening it must be to go for a mammogram. That said, I have a request. If you haven't scheduled a mammogram, please do so. I know it is scary, but it is important."
"The summer before Jen died we vacationed on Topsail Island with her family. Jen relied on a walker or a cane for the prior 3 months, as her legs were getting weaker. Jennifer loved being in the ocean and she was sad at the thought of not being strong enough to swim on her own. For the first few days of our trip Jen would sit by the edge of the ocean and the waves would roll in over her feet. Near the middle of the week Jen decided she would go in the ocean if her sister Laura and I held her hands. I’ll never forget the sound of Jen’s voice when she said, “Let go.” I hid my tears of joy behind my camera and watched Jen floating in the ocean, overcoming her fears and not letting cancer keep her from living life."
"We had just been admitted to Urgent Care and Jen was in worse pain than I'd ever seen. Doctors worked to find the right medication but it's never fast enough."
"Happy Anniversary Babe. xo"
Mom and Dad in the hospital, 2005. My dad is a 20 year lung cancer survivor and my mom is going on 8 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I learned so much from watching these two take care of each other. Heroes indeed.
The non-profit organisation benefiting from 50% of the profits from the e-book sales.
Clare Cullen

Clare Cullen

Angelo Merendino has created a photo story of his life with late wife Jennifer to honour her memory and her impact on him.

The photographer documented their lives together, including his adored wife's battles with breast cancer.

His wife passed away in December 2011 after being re-diagnosed following a remission period.

Merendino has experienced cancer in his close family before, as both his mother and father have been diagnosed with

"Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time."

See our gallery above with a selection of the photographs documenting the couples' story.

Merendino has released an e-book of their story, 'The Battle We Didn't Choose', and 50% of the profits from the e-book will go to the non-profit organisation 'The Love You Share'. The organisation, which Merendino founded, aims to provide financial assistance to women in need while they are recieving treatment for breast cancer.

"I cannot think of a better way to honor Jennifer's legacy than by helping others."

See more of their story.

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