A Daughter Documents Her Parents’ Heartwrenching Journey Through Cancer Treatment
In 2013, Nancy Borowick’s mum and dad underwent treatment for cancer at the same time. The photographer’s pictures document her parents' poignant and inspiring journey.
Last year, Nancy Borowick's father underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer as her mother continued to receive treatment for ongoing breast cancer.
The photographer set out to record the pain and challenges of her parents' shared experience of cancer treatment, while also focusing on their bravery in the face of mortality.
She documented their full range of experiences, "from the daily banter they shared as husband and wife to their shifting dynamic as patient and caregiver".
“Cancer gave my family a harsh, yet valuable gift: an awareness of time,” Borowick says.
Her mother has battled breast cancer for nearly 20 years.
Her father lived with pancreatic cancer for one year.
By photographing my parents, I have been able to document their story and capture their essence, remembering the good moments and the bad, as well as the silly moments and the sad. The project has become our shared history.
This story strengthened my belief in the notion that to tell a powerful and honest story, one must seek true intimacy and humility with the subject. Photographing my family and my life has been one of the most challenging experiences I've ever had. ... I constantly struggle with my ever-changing roles as photographer, daughter, and caretaker.
"A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, even those who are not sick, and while our situation may be unique, our story is a universal one."
"Now a widow at 59 years old, my mother grieves the loss of my father while simultaneously coming to terms with her own life and illness."
In my photography, I will look at how [my mother] continues to live day-to-day, highlighting her personal resilience and strength while also looking at her support network: her kids. My brother-in-law, Paul Flach from the UK, also lost his father to cancer. He is running the Berlin Marathon this September as part of the UK Institute for Cancer Research fundraising team.
Borowick's story of cancer and family is ongoing.
My hope is that [my work] can continue to connect with others but also to inspire those experiencing illness, or their family and friends, and to remind them that in the face of death, one can truly experience what it means to live.