In September 2012, I photographed a group of women diagnosed with terminal stage IV breast cancer. Kay, Gretchen, CJ, Cece and Sally, as well as other members of METAvivor Research and Support, often held informal gatherings. A non-profit organization, METAvivor provides support to patients, raises awareness, and awards annual research grants for stage IV breast cancer. Many of its members form close friendships in the process of sharing their struggles and triumphs.
As I photographed these women, I was struck by their energy, joyful demeanor and dedication in helping others with the same diagnosis. I wondered how these ladies live with the possibility of death so close at hand while at the same time not only managing the painful and debilitating effects of the disease and its treatment. What gives them the courage to carry on with such grace? Has their philosophy of life changed? Their view of death? Here are their answers.