As a photographer, Angelo Merendino captured the amazing love he shared with his wife, Jennifer. He also captured the years she battled breast cancer, the struggle and pain they faced, and the love story that inspires him to spread breast cancer awareness today.
Merendino beautifully documented his story with photos on his blog in honor of his wife and to spread breast cancer awareness.
Merendino knew he loved Jennifer from the moment they met in August of 2005. A long distance relationship pushed Merendino to sell nearly everything he had to move from Cleveland to New York to be with her.
In 2006, Merendino proposed to Jennifer at their favorite Italian restaurant. “I married the girl of my dreams. Life was perfect,” he wrote.
Unfortunately, things would not stay perfect. Five months after they married, Jennifer received news that she had breast cancer and their world turned upside down:
“As our life became more complicated our focus became simple – Survive. Everything that wasn’t necessary had to go.”
With the treatment that followed, Jennifer’s doctor told her that she was cancer free just after their one year anniversary. Life was put in a new perspective for the couple.
“But we had each other and with every challenge our love grew stronger. The little things that used to upset us no longer carried any weight. Making each other smile, picking each other up when we fell, letting the people in our life know how much we loved them … these things mattered.”
Then in April of 2010, the worst happened and Jennifer was told her breast cancer had metastasized to her liver and bone.
“Our life was a maze filled with doctor appointments, medical procedures, medications, and side-effects. The thought that I might be a widower before I was forty felt like someone was kicking me in my gut. Over and over and over.”
By December 22, 2011, only 16 days after her fortieth birthday and after less than five years of marriage, Jennifer passed away.
“Our star didn’t shine long, but man did it shine bright,” Merendino wrote.
Now Merendino campaigns for breast cancer awareness through his website, his TED Talks, The Love You Share, his non-profit organization that gives financial assistance to women fighting breast cancer, and the several partnerships he has with Cleveland-area hospitals.
“By sharing our story, our love story, something beautiful has begun to grow out of something so horrible and unfair. If we don’t share our experiences how can we learn, grow and survive?”
Don’t let breast cancer take away the greatest thing in your life and schedule an appointment with your doctor today.