I decided to start this project, iSurvive, after the loss of a good friend of mine, German Lissidini, who died of a rare stomach cancer when he was 25.
We were classmates for two years in middle-school and became fast friends, the type in which you still go out for coffee after 10 years. My grandma used to greet him, while walking her dog around the neighborhood both of us were living in.
When diagnosed, I was living hundreds miles from home. German decided not to tell me about his cancer on Facebook. His loss hit me like a train traveling full speed. I started gathering information and understood that while on treatment, German tried his best to approach cancer in a positive way. He showed a great passion for life and was determined to have an impact in some way for as long as he lived.
He began gathering images, feelings, words, and created a book called iLive.
To deal with my sadness, I decided to interview and shoot portraits of young adult cancer survivors who share the same passion for life my friend had.
iSurvive wants to commemorate cancer victims while inspiring others live life to the fullest. German's loss proved something important:
Life is succesfull based on how many people you are able to touch because it is through those that you will keep on living forever.
“I wouldn’t go through cancer again, but it gave me a stronger sense of myself in the world.” - Jodi Engstorm is a psychologist from San Francisco, California. She was diagnosed at 23 years-old with Hodgkin Lymphoma."
“The only way to go through cancer is to stay positive and see yourself in the future doing what you love doing […] cancer helped me stay focused and pursue my dream.” - Lucas Vidal is a movie sound composer from Madrid, Spain. He was diagnosed at 20 years-old. Lucas preferred not to release the type of cancer.
“I had my days when I felt bad, cried, and struggled. But when it comes down to the end of the day, I wanted to be proactive, strong, and happy. I didn’t want people to feel bad, or pity me.” - Bethany Fisher is a photographer from Salt Lake City, Utah. She was diagnosed at 25 years-old with thyroid cancer.
“I don’t regret having had cancer. I started to give more value to everything. Life is so fragile.” - Franco Vescovi is a tattoo artist from Orange County, California. He was diagnosed at 37 years-old with lung cancer.
“When you hear your doctor talk about ‘survival rates’ at a point where you’re just starting to figure life out, you no longer want to waste any time on people and things that keep you from living the rest of your life to the fullest. For me, I’m now determined to make my voice heard and not just survive, but thrive.” - Susan Michelle is a multi-media content creator from Chicago, Illinois. She was diagnosed at 39 years-old with thyroid cancer.
“At the time I got diagnosed, I saw this as a bad card that was given to me. I didn’t do anything to get cancer. Bad things happen to good people all the time.” - Adir Tal is a DJ from Los Angeles, California. He was diagnosed at 25 years-old with testicular cancer.
“I believe that Western medicine is like a play: incomplete without the figure of an actor. In fact, doctors can help you treat the body. Not your soul, not your psyche. Remember that we are made of these together.” - Chiara Stoppa is a theatre actress from Pordenone, Italy. She was diagnosed at 26 years-old with Hodgkin Lymphoma.
“According to me and most doctors, it is the way you face cancer that makes the difference. Projects and goals will help you get through it. For example, when I got diagnosed I had to compete for the London Olympics in 2012, I made myself strong thinking that the Rio Olympics in 2016 would have been better.” - Mario Scapini is a former professional athlete from Milan, Italy. He was diagnosed at 23-years with stomach cancer.