On a warm October afternoon in 2011, I met Janina and her family in a local park to do a photo shot with them. On October 23rd, 2010, at age 17, Janina was diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma. What they first thought to be a muscle contusion in her right thigh has turned out to be a cancerous tumor that had already spread to her lungs. By the time I met them, it was already considered Stage IV-A bone cancer. Yesterday, on the first day of spring, at age 18, Janina lost her battle with cancer. It is with a very heavy heart that I write these words. I only spent a short time with her and her family, but I fell in love with their warmth and love. I feel so honored to have taken their photos.
Janina didn’t want me to post pictures of her without her wig and even though I think those are the most beautiful pictures her, where her soul really shined through, I will honor her wishes and not post them. But trust me when I tell you that her bright pink hair she had dyed recently looked incredible against her skin and when she smiled, it lit up the world.
Janina, thank you for allowing me to photograph you. You were a beautiful and loved young woman. You will be missed.