Photo Greater Than 1000: Angelo Merendino at TEDxUSU

Originally Published on Nov 18, 2013 On September 1, 2007, I married the girl of my dreams. Five months later Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next four years we faced constant change as Jennifer’s illness grew more serious. During this time, Jennifer allowed me to photograph our day-to-day life. Our hope was that these photographs would offer people a more realistic view of life with cancer. Since Jennifer passed in 2011 these photographs—our love story—have been vital to my accepting Jennifer’s death, embracing my own mortality, and finding peace within myself.

Angelo Merendino is a photographer whose photo-documentary, The Battle We Didn’t Choose — My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer, has received worldwide recognition. Intimate, honest, and moving, Angelo’s photographs offer viewers a look inside the day-to-day life of a young couple facing breast cancer together. More than a story about loss, this is a story about love and life.

Since his late wife Jennifer passed in 2011, Angelo has maintained a blog chronicling life before, during, and after his experience as a caregiver and now, as a 39-year-old widower. Much like his photographs, Angelo’s posts are open and raw. His hope is to encourage conversation about topics that are [...] continue the story

Awake

By Nicole Ferraro January 2012

I blinked my eyes open. Early morning sunlight sneaked through the blinds on my window, casting a glow on the mess on my floor. Sitting up, I saw my bedroom in complete disarray. There were ripped Hefty bags and stuffed animals spanning twenty-four years strewn across my rug. My room looked like the scene of a barnyard massacre. Looking under my covers, I discovered I was clutching a giant pastel-blue stuffed bunny I’d received as an Easter gift when I was twelve. I could only assume I had spent hours in frantic search of this toy, tearing through our storage areas until I located it. I didn’t remember doing any of that, couldn’t remember the evening at all. But I never could when I was on Ambien. Groggy and confused, I tossed my comforter to the side and started to clean up the mess.

Insomnia had been a part of who I was for most of my life. As an adolescent growing up in Whitestone, Queens, I spent countless nights in my twin bed in the attic staring up at the ceiling, or watching the time on the cable box, waiting for morning. I tried distracting my mind, [...] continue the story

Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Dr. Amy Ship

In accepting the award, Ship spoke of the importance of small gestures in the doctor-patient relationship – specifically, the art of listening with both eyes and ears. “Returning the (patient’s) gaze is one of those powerful small gestures,” she said. “It encapsulates empathy and compassion – being present, fully present, to another human being: pausing to look back. To say with our eyes that we are listening, that we hear.”

It’s a lesson she teaches medical students who rotate through Healthcare Associates. “I’m proud to be a primary care doctor,” she said. “Primary care is focused on continuity, of knowing one’s patients through all their illnesses and the complexity of their lives. And primary care is focused on prevention – on protecting you from the consequences of untreated but silent diseases and from unnecessary tests or hospitalization. That’s care we all need and deserve.

“I look out tonight at a room filled with people who have the minds, energy and position to change medicine, and I want to make it clear that primary care needs saving. Those who practice it need to be given the time to do it right. Primary care can literally save lives, but it can not be done [...] continue the story