The Many Faces of Cancer


The Photographer, In His Own Words

I began a jJared LazarusJared Lazarusourney in 2014 to show the varied faces of Duke Cancer Center’s patients and survivors. Through this photo essay, I wanted to give hope and inspiration to those newly diagnosed. Over the next three years I criss-crossed the state to photograph and interview 14 brave individuals doing what they love, and in many cases, enjoying a new lease on life.

I soon realized, however, that those I had been documenting were in fact inspiring me — giving me hope and courage — especially two summers ago, when a large tumor was discovered in my 12-year-old daughter’s abdomen. Fortunately, the tumor was found to be benign, though not before it crushed her ovary. The experience enabled me to understand, if even a little, the emotions families experience when faced with a diagnosis of cancer.

When I look at the portraits, united to become a stirring mosaic, I see grit, faith, and determination. The recordings speak to the value of staying positive, leaning on others for support, and believing in God and your doctors. But the collective call to appreciate life and live in the moment motivates me to change the way I approach each day. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every person who allowed me a small glimpse into a journey to survivorship. Duke Cancer Institute thanks Jared for donating his time, talent and, in many cases, resources to this inspiring photo essay project. 

I Am A Survivor

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” — Anonymous

Johnny Alston, of Durham, North Carolina, is in remission from prostate cancer. He’s worked as a university theater professor for 41 years.

Melissa Culbreth, of Wilmington, North Carolina, was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer. Despite three recurrences, she’s currently cancer free.

Eve Griffith, of Apex, North Carolina, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2009. She’s been cancer free for five years. She wears a tutu to appointments.

Stephanie Lipscomb, of Greenville, South Carolina, was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor in 2011 and was treated with an experimental poliovirus therapy.

Bob Norris, of New Bern, North Carolina, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. Now cancer free, he skydives to raise funds for research.

Jaime Sainz, of Clayton, North Carolina, an Army First Sgt. at Fort Bragg, has colon cancer that has spread to his liver, abdomen and lymph nodes. 

Layla Smith, of Hope Mills, North Carolina, is currently in remission from leukemia. She likes singing, dancing and playing with her puppies and her toys.

Stephen Albright, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is in remission from testicular cancer. A safety on the UNC football team, he loves sports, dogs and reading. 

Julie Cardillo, of Raleigh, North Carolina, has been cancer free of ovarian and uterine cancer for two years. She's an artist and visual arts teacher.

Lori Elliott, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Her cancer is now in remission.

Narciscus Key, of Suffolk, Virginia, died February 16, 2017 after battling stage 4 rectal cancer. His wife gave birth to their son, Phoenix, on April 15, 2017.

Gerald Madren, of Thomasville, North Carolina, is a 19-year leukemia survivor. A press operator by profession, he’s also a fitness enthusiast. 

Saeideh Razmkhah, of Durham, North Carolina, is currently in remission from breast cancer. She likes to play in the leaves with her daughters.

Luningning Robb, of Durham, North Carolina, is in remission from leukemia. She enjoys playing the ukulele, singing karaoke with friends and cooking.

Be The Change

We know that ending cancer requires a weapon as adaptive and multiform as cancer itself. With you on our team, we can change the rules on cancer. To learn more about the many ways you can engage in the quest for a cure, visit Duke Cancer Institute.