Stories & Credits

Credits & Photos

Here are the stories of the people in our META-WHAT video! Photographs by Angelo Merendino.

MBCA_Portraits_BW_Sarita-JordanSarita Jordan
Time to step it up
African American women die of breast cancer at a higher rate, and I started to wonder if it was lack of knowledge. Most don’t want to be part of a support group. But there are incredible online forums, where people can tell you about upcoming clinical trials, who can test your tumor and where to get grant money. I have a passion to try to help those who aren’t finding their way. I want them to know that you have to navigate your own healthcare. You have to know what might come next based on the makeup of your tumor, you have to be on top of it because you want as many options as you can get. Read more

MBCA_Portraits_BW_Holley-KitchenHolley Kitchen
I’m in this for life. #lifer
I was breast-feeding my youngest when I found the first lump. The diagnosis was stage 3 breast cancer. So I did chemotherapy. I had a double mastectomy. I had radiation. And then I thought I was done. I thought that no boobs equaled no cancer. But that’s not always how it works, and at my second three-month check-up, a test showed that a liver enzyme was elevated. My doctor knew what that meant. She sent me for a bone scan and there it was. I have metastatic breast cancer in my spine and my bones. ER/PR +, HER2-, BRCA – breast cancer.Read more

MBCA_Portraits_BW_MIchael-Koravik-13Michael Kovarik
It’s a team effort: your oncologist, your medication and your attitude
Whether you are a man or a woman, when you are dealing with breast cancer, your attitude is the primary power that you have to aid in your healing. I retired from my career in education in 2012 and this has been my new teaching mission, along with raising awareness around men’s breast cancer. The more involved I got, the more I realized this is the path I need to follow. Yes, my message is about empowering others, but it has also been very healing to share my story. It has been a gift to me. Read more

Angelo_MerendinoAngelo Merendino
This is what cancer looks like
A few months after my wife was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, we realized that many people didn’t understand how serious Jen’s illness had become. So, I turned to my camera and began to photograph our day-to-day life. Our hope was that if family and friends saw what we were facing every day, then maybe they would realize how much we needed their support. They didn’t have to say the right thing; there isn’t a right thing to say. The experience is different for every person and different every day. We just needed them to be there—not to be silent.Read more

MBCA_Portraits_BW_Shirely-MertzShirley Mertz
Research holds the key to survival
According to the American Cancer Society, this year 40,290 women and men will die of breast cancer. If you do the math, on average that’s 110 people every day. And that number hasn’t changed in 20 years. But when you turn on the news, you never hear: 110 people died of breast cancer today. If 110 people died in Iraq or in a train wreck or as a result of terrorism people would be outraged. It would be huge news. But there is breast cancer fatigue. People think: Yes, the diagnosis is bad, but you’ll be fine, so it’s not really that big a deal. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Why not? Because research dollars have not focused on the kind of breast cancer that leaves the breast and kills metastatic breast cancer.Read more

MBCA_Portraits_BW_Mary-Munoz-14Mary Munoz
Listen to your body
The worst part is when your doctors don’t listen to you. I had told my husband, “I know my body, no matter what anyone says.” I kept telling the oncologist, “I have the cancer in my back.” But he said, “Mary, you’re OK.” He was wrong. Ever since I got sick I started looking up treatments, asking “Why can’t I do this?” They say, “Oh it’s dangerous, you might die.” Well I’m already dying. What’s their point? If I had listened to the doctors, I would have been dead the first year. So I say, ask questions—and if you don’t get an answer, get a second opinion.Read more