The Battle We Didn’t Choose is a powerful collection of images by photographer and loving husband Angelo Merendino, documenting his wife Jennifer’s battle with breast cancer. Their story begins like your typical “boy meets girl” love story with Angelo mustering up the courage to reveal his feelings for Jennifer and even following her to New York City from Cleveland.
The couple went through a blissful period of dating, getting engaged, and finally getting married, though they were met with a life-changing obstacle just five months after their wedding—Jennifer’s breast cancer diagnosis. Though it came as a shock to the newlyweds, Angelo admits that it didn’t take away from their adoration of one another and says, “With each challenge we grew closer.”
Throughout the hardships the two faced, Angelo made sure to document as much as he could to give an honest, realistic portrayal of what one faces when battling cancer. This raw view includes hair loss, chronic aches and pains as side effects from the medication taken, constant hospital visits, and the need to use a walker to get by at the age of 39.
Angelo explains, “My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.”
Angelo’s images honoring his late wife have now been composed into a digital book available to purchase directly through his website and fifty percent of the net sales profits will be donated to The Love You Share, his non-profit organization whose mission is “to provide financial assistance to women in need while they are receiving treatment for breast cancer.”
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