Briana Camilleri & Taylor Lazzara
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The Story
Briana Camilleri
Chicago, Illinois
Instagram: @brianacamilleri
Thyroid Cancer Survivor
Twist on Cancer: My diagnosis arrived at the most celebratory time of my life, a week before my wedding. In August 2019, I went to the doctor for one thing and found out it was cancer instead. Having cancer and with my wedding quickly approaching, I felt like I was juggling between uncertainty and total certainty, loss and gain, sadness and elation, and a world of feelings in between. I didn't want such a scary time to overshadow the most joyful time-so we didn't tell many people until afterwards. It was hard because I was wanting support- which is vital when facing something unknown. A lot of what I've "learned" is really just what I'm re-learning. A reawakening to things I've always been aware of, but it made these life lessons more present and something I've been unable to ignore or bury down out of fear of facing those realities day to day. All these lessons are the cliche things that most people probably say when they experience anything life-threatening or life-altering, but I think for most of us, what it is- is a reemergence into these lessons we've already always known. Every day we get is a blessing. We never know what the next minute will bring, but you have to take it all a moment at a time. This year has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but I think that cancer helps to appreciate it all that much more. The lows help you appreciate the highs of life that much more. It has helped me to take every day for what it is and stop planning so much because you never know how much life can shift in a matter of moments. I've learned to lean on those around me and that love can take you farther than you ever thought possible. I've also been grateful to make new friends along the way, people that I can rely on to help me navigate. It has also made me appreciate my body, despite its constant (and difficult) changes. I am powerful and strong and my spirit cannot be defeated (even though some days it's easier said than done).
Taylor Lazzara
Acrylic on canvas
Artist Statement: “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” This is one of my Inspiration’s favorite quotes, one she turns to when things feel hard. This painting is a representation of how beauty can be found in dark times and how dark times often lead to something so incredibly beautiful and bright. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know my Inspiration on a personal level, experience some dark times together, and then share in the most beautiful gift we could have ever dreamed. I have been completely inspired by her magnetic soul and contagious spirit, and look forward to continuing to share our stories with one another as they unfold.
Show them some love and tell them how you feel.