Facing Chemo

Photo: Robert Houser

This portrait project from Robert Houser is a raw, naked glimpse into the reality many women face, and wear on their faces, during cancer treatment.

In addition to the fear of losing their lives, cancer patients also lose their hair. They lose (or gain) weight. Sometimes, they lose a sense of their identities as treatment goes on for years.

When Susan Schulz and I launched this campaign to raise awareness and funds for the globally collaborative work being conducted by Weizmann to fight cancer, I did it because I believe that Weizmann is one of the surest paths to the future I want to see take shape in the world that we share. An interdisciplinary, collaborative approach based on curiosity and intellectual rigor is the key to creating science for the benefit of humanity, and I have never seen it practiced so authentically, or with such passion and promise as they do at Weizmann.

I had no idea at the onset of the campaign, however, that the subject would strike so close to home. I didn't know that I was about to lose one of the closest people to me, a beloved member of my family, who was diagnosed with leukemia and died immediately after receiving treatment. Like the women in Houser's portraits, she changed, inside and out. Also like the women in the portraits, she never lost the essence of who she was, not for one second. It is that essence that will live on forever in my memory.