A few friends were nice enough to feature my story in their assignments for the Journalism school, and there have been other cool stories or photos depicting my year here. See below for several of them!
My story at the Relay for Life “Breasticle Festival”
An interview with Rachel Herzog:
The UNC Lens Project’s coverage of the Dozen Doughnut Dash (article talks about the fundraiser for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center):
Photography by Alexis Fairbanks
Photography by Frances Cayton
Tony Asher’s Photojournalism project:
Alex Werden, a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill sits with his brother Jacob and family friend Claire at breakfast after picking them up from swim practice. Alex was in his first year at West Point when he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He has since come back home to Chapel Hill to receive radiation and chemotherapy treatments and take classes at UNC. Alex hopes to return to West Point in the fall when he finishes his treatments.
Alex jokes around with friends in “The Pit”—the hub of activity in the center of UNC’s campus, surrounded by the student union, Lenoir dining hall, the student store, and two of the school’s libraries.
Finals week is a stressful time for all students. Alex has many papers to finish before they are due at the end of the week. He jokes that, “I would rather be doing chemo then writing these fucking papers.” His sense of humor always lights up the room, whether he is relaxing with friends, doing homework, or sitting through hours of chemotherapy.
Alex sits waiting for his chemotherapy. Unlike most patients, he avoids having his infusion site numbed because the needle breaking his skin reminds him “how lucky [he] is that it’s one of the few discomforts felt throughout treatment, compared to a lot of patients whose therapies make them feel a whole lot worse.”
Alex lays back during one of his twenty-three days of radiation treatment. While the nausea and exhaustion felt afterwards make him feel worse, the quick nap inside the tomotherapy machine is “surprisingly refreshing.”
Alex helps his young friend Grayson inflate his latex glove hat while waiting for chemo and radiation treatment. Alex makes sure to goof around as much as he can when he is in the Pediatric Oncology/Hematology Clinic at the N.C. Children’s Hospital.
Although he is currently at home at UNC, Alex makes sure to stay very involved with the Army. Here, he is packing for a conference back at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also enjoys a good laugh, as his kitten poster shows.
Skydiving has also been an aspiration of Alex’s for many years. He is currently in the process of getting his US Parachute Association Class A License. Even though going through cancer treatment is “pretty shitty, [he] still love[s] the opportunities gained that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. You know, like jumping out of planes ‘n shit.” In this photo, he is gearing up for another jump.
Here, Alex sits under his canopy before entering his final landing pattern during another jump.