“Topsail” – New Video from Angelo Merendino

Topsail by Angelo Merendino 4-20-13The summer before Jennifer died we spent a week at the ocean with her family. At this point Jen had been using a walker for a few months because the cancer had spread to her hip and she was having difficultly walking. Jen’s legs were getting weaker and she wasn’t sure that she would be able to swim in the ocean, which she loved to do.

For the first few days we would walk along the beach and Jen would sit near the ocean’s edge, close enough so that the fading waves would wash over her feet. After a few days Jen said she would go in the ocean if her sister Laura and I held her hands. It was great and Jen loved the feeling of the waves crashing against her. But I knew it wasn’t enough.

I’ll never forget when Jen said, “Let go.”

It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life…just watching Jen floating in the ocean, kicking her feet, splashing around. She was having fun. For a moment there was no cancer.

Jennifer was determined to live her life and to not let cancer stop her from embracing every moment and loving the people in her life.

View Video »


Angelo MerendinoPhotographer and cancer advocate (Photographic Collections)

Angelo Merendino studied photography at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio in the early 2000’s, focusing on documentary photography and building a foundation based on simplicity and a desire to compose images that promote awareness, thought and communication. When his wife of 5 months was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, he found the most effective way to communicate and share their daily challenges was with his camera. He chronicled Jen’s ongoing treatments, side effects, emotional distress, compromised function, and the difficulties and uplifts of everyday living. Angelo’s pictures eventually came together as a photo-documentary called,The Battle We Didn’t Choose: My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer.” He writes on his website: “My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife.” Ever present behind the camera Angelo also documented the sadness, isolation, and love of a couple that would share a lifetime of experience in barely a few years. Jen died in December 2011 at age 40. Angelo’s photographs of Jen have been published on CNN’s Photo BlogSocialDocumentary.net, and several media outlets. They have been on exhibit at cancer centers and galleries. He is the recipient of the 2012 Communication Arts Photography Annual, received an Honorable Mention from the The Art of Documentary/SDN (2012), and was a recipient of the 2011 People’s Choice – Artist’s Wanted award.


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