We hear stories about people meeting online, sharing similar interests, fighting similar causes, maybe even meeting their next partner. The world is vast and yet the internet enables us to experience places, people and communities we might never have known. For cancer patients the internet provides a wealth of resources, not the least of which are online support groups where people can chat, share experiences, laugh, and cry, and support one another both in difficult times and in good. Sometimes you just want someone who can relate to what you’re feeling, someone who just gets it.
One of the most rewarding elements of the Facing Chemo project has been watching the friendships that evolve as a result. The connections that occur because of this common thread called cancer, can be powerful beyond explanation. I’ll never forget an experience I had at the show’s initial opening. I was standing with one woman, a participant who had gone through treatment for ovarian cancer, a vicious aggressive disease, and this woman was a true warrior. Another participant approached us, weaving her way through the crowded room, looked at the woman beside me with wells of tears in her wearied eyes, and quietly asked, “ovarian cancer?” and with outstretched arms whispered, “me too.” Those women had never spoken, but they knew of each other from the project, and stood in that room amidst nearly 300 people, hugging and crying for what seemed like an infinite period of time. It’s one of my most favorite experiences from that extremely emotional night.
Those connections are the ones that I think back upon when sharing the story of these two beautiful women pictured both above and below. Bob had the pleasure of shooting them in his studio just a few weeks ago. They met online, their connection so strong that they currently talk every day – chemo buddies for life. While they didn’t actually meet through the Facing Chemo project, they did meet for the first time, in person, for a photo shoot in Bob’s studio – and what a wonderful experience it was to capture these now lifelong friends!