Unexpected Journeys

Six women who participated in a group for women with metastatic and/or widespread disease share their stories.

Click on an image to view photos and text excerpts and listen to audio from interviews conducted over a six-month timeframe.

Debra-sm   Hazel-sm   Helen-sm
Laura-sm   Rena-sm   Virginia-sm

Message from the photographer/interviewer:

To tell our stories can be a powerful tool. It can help us gain clarity and insight into our own lives, and can serve as a means of passing on our learnings to others. Most importantly, sharing our stories can be empowering by giving voice to who we are and what we have gone through. To be heard means that we are important, that we are of value, and that we have something to offer to others.

The six women in this project all have metastatic or recurrent cancer. Each has traveled her own journey and has her own perspective and wisdom – there are differences in age, ethnicity, religion, economic circumstances. Each offered to open a window into her life to share her experience of what it has been like to have cancer, and how it has changed her life.

The texts that accompany the photographs are excerpts from interviews conducted over a six month period in 2004. This exhibit can also be found at the 200 UCLA Medical Center, Fifth Floor, Main Corridor.

This project was done in collaboration with the formerly named Ted Mann Family Resource Center at UCLA. My thanks to the staff there for their support, and especially to Celeste Torrens, who runs the Living Beyond Limits support groups, of which all the women are members. And of course, I am deeply indebted to the women for their openness, honesty and unrelenting graciousness.

Susan Alancraig, Photographer/Interviewer, May 2004