By Bill Aron
This is our new series featuring a collection of narratives and photographs from the book New Beginnings: The Triumph of 120 Survivors by photographer, author and cancer survivor Bill Aron.
Cancer Survivor: Aurora Avila – Endoscopy Technician, Surgical Center Physician’s Assistant, Diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Age 31.
I was 31-years old, five months into my marriage, and in the first trimester of a pregnancy that I had to terminate. Then came chemotherapy, then surgery, then radiation. And in the middle of it all, I had an emergency appendectomy. A year later I separated from my husband. The entire experience was an awakening for sure.
Cancer forced me to get to know myself deeply, and it forced a spiritual growth that I had never imagined or expected. When you are looking at yourself in the mirror, completely nude without even a strand of hair on your head, you have no choice but to see the real you.
After going through something like this, there is never a “normal” again. There is only a “better.” It would be easier to have a normal life, but I don’t think I would ever want that. I call it an awakening. Why would I want to go back to sleep? My life is so much better because of everything I went through. Even If I could wave a magic wand and take it all away, I would never do that.
Cancer itself is not a gift, but the lessons you learn as a result of the experience are the gifts. I feel like it will always be my greatest accomplishment — not just to survive cancer, but to do so without anger or resentment. I chose to thrive rather than just survive. That is the choice.
Bill Aron is an American photographer known as a portrait photographer and a chronicler of Jewish communities around the world.
Author of New Beginnings: The Chronicles of 120 Cancer Survivors, Bill uses his camera lens to depict a moment in the lives of men, women, children and families as their travel on their cancer journeys.
Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1993, he viewed his cancer diagnosis as a new beginning. In Bill’s words, “You have cancer are three terrifying words, but our culture does little to ease the fear”. As he follows 120 survivors, he discovered that those words were also the start of a new beginning, not an end to their lives. Their stories inspire and provide hope for anyone diagnosed with cancer, their families and their friends.
Visit Bill on his website,
Buy his book through Amazon.
Feel free to contact Bill:
Studio – 323 934 0426
Mobile – 323 449 7938
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