5 Pictures - 5 Words Series
This is a small, but powerful series. I was asked to photograph PurpleStride Maryland 2016 for the Prancers Against Cancer team. I never expected to see the emotion and raw energy that I did here. These are 5 photos that represent death and moving past it. Pancreatic cancer is a tragic disease that has affected many lives. Just because it’s horrible, does not mean you have to accept it. These photographs showcase the various stages of emotion experienced by survivors, victims, and families affected by this disease.
There are a thousand words that can describe the woman pictured here, but the one word which surpasses them all: passion. I have never witnessed someone who is so passionate about a cause as Stacy is. She exudes passion in the most humble way. She is the mastermind behind team Prancers Against Cancer and it shows in her effort and vigor in raising awareness for pancreatic cancer. Here, Stacy giving her team a pep talk. Prancers Against Cancer raised over $16,000 in donations, which goes directly towards research, patient cost, and government advocacy of pancreatic cancer. She is a very special being who selflessly gives her all towards PurpleStride and pancreatic cancer awareness. Whether it is in her purple hair or purple sayings, she is a thousand percent passionate about this cause. I can say I am truly thankful and humbled to have met such a person. The passion in her heart burns a deep, vibrant purple.
In the words of our friend Dawn, "I'm not backing down...it's not in me to quit!" This is Stacy's passion.
The ladies of the hour. Stacy, left, and Rebekah, right, both exchange one of the most heartfelt emotions I have witnessed. This is love. Love not only because of the moment captured here but because of who these ladies are.
Rebekah's wife, Dawn, had taken a turn for the worse in her fight against pancreatic cancer. Dawn had been diagnosed with a growing mass on her ovary that they knew was cancerous. On the day of PurpleStride, she was home, scheduled for surgery the following day, in a terrible amount of pain. Her condition was not looking well, and Dawn, despite her insistence on being at PurpleStride this year, was not able to make it. Rebekah knew how much PurpleStride meant to Dawn, and out of her unwavering and unconditional love for Dawn, she made sure to show up to represent Dawn and all who could not be there. Rebekah is one of the most loving beings I have ever met, and it shows in the picture. Despite all that was going wrong, she made the team feel loved.
Luci, right, is the youngest Prancer. Luci is the warrior that can and did! She was so upset in the weeks leading up to this because she wasn't getting donations for PurpleStride, and therefore wasn't a part of the team, but with a little help from Stacy, left, she made those donations happen! This was Luci's first race, too. The team put a special award together just for her to celebrate her being the warrior that she is.
This photograph depicts a moment of rejoice because even though there was so much loss this year, the team found a way to make the glass half full. Death can be dark and sad, but it doesn't always have to be. This photo proves that.
Angel, left, has been through more loss and heartbreak than most could ever imagine in their worst nightmares. In her lifetime, she's suffered an unfathomable amount of heartache, losing both her parents and two sisters. The most recent of these losses was her second half, her closest sister, Dawn, who lost her fight to pancreatic cancer. She supported not only Dawn and Dawn's wife, Rebekah, but also Dawn's friends. She is the comic relief, the rock that stays strong and steady through thick and thin. She made the worst times that much brighter and the great times exponentially greater.
This photo depicts comfort. Comfort from the rock that kept everyone anchored to the ground and to each other. Angel is thanking Stacy for all that she did in PurpleStride. In reality, we should all be thanking for Angel for strength in these dark hours.
Scott Jacobs, pictured here hugging the team leader Stacy, lost his wife this past year . Nancy Jacobs passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer. In the months prior, she had been cancer free, but the cancer returned with a vengeance. In a matter of months, Nancy lost her battle to this horrible disease. Despite the terrible loss, just two weeks after her passing, Scott and his daughter showed up for the Baltimore PurpleStride event, saying he, "needed to be here because he knew his team and Nancy's team would forever remember and celebrate her."
This photo here represents the warm embrace for Scott in his time of despair and grief. When things were looking up for so long, the disease reared its head in the worst way possible, taking Nancy from us too soon. A single moment; a single embrace. A death mourned, but a life not forgotten.