Love and Cancer

A photographic essay
Nott Memorial
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Love and Cancer


  • The embrace: Howie and Laurel Borowick embrace in the bedroom of their home. In their 34-year marriage, they never could have imagined being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the same time. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013The embrace: Howie and Laurel Borowick embrace in the bedroom of their home. In their 34-year marriage, they never could have imagined being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at the same time. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013
  • His and hers: Howie Borowick calls these “his and hers” chairs. He and his wife, Laurel, get their weekly chemotherapy treatments side by side at oncologist Dr. Barry Boyd’s office. Greenwich, Conn., January 2013His and hers: Howie Borowick calls these “his and hers” chairs. He and his wife, Laurel, get their weekly chemotherapy treatments side by side at oncologist Dr. Barry Boyd’s office. Greenwich, Conn., January 2013
  • Getaway: On the eve of new rounds of chemotherapy, Howie and Laurel take a last-minute trip to Florida. Naples, Fla., January 2013Getaway: On the eve of new rounds of chemotherapy, Howie and Laurel take a last-minute trip to Florida. Naples, Fla., January 2013
  • Dinner dishes: It’s business as usual for Laurel, playfully wearing a blond wig, as she cleans the dishes in the family kitchen. Chappaqua, N.Y., February 2013Dinner dishes: It’s business as usual for Laurel, playfully wearing a blond wig, as she cleans the dishes in the family kitchen. Chappaqua, N.Y., February 2013
  • On the bathroom floor: Howie and Laurel react to the most recent news from their oncologist—good scans for both, and their respective tumors are shrinking. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013On the bathroom floor: Howie and Laurel react to the most recent news from their oncologist—good scans for both, and their respective tumors are shrinking. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013
  • Wedding day: In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride’s parents walk her down the aisle. With all the strength they could muster, Laurel and Howie walk Nancy past friends and family, holding her close as they lift her veil and greet her fiancé, Kyle Grimm ’08, in front of the chuppah. Highland, N.Y. October 2013Wedding day: In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride’s parents walk her down the aisle. With all the strength they could muster, Laurel and Howie walk Nancy past friends and family, holding her close as they lift her veil and greet her fiancé, Kyle Grimm ’08, in front of the chuppah. Highland, N.Y. October 2013
  • The kiss: It’s a familiar afternoon scene around the Borowick home, with Howie fast asleep, exhausted from the week’s chemo, and Laurel waking her husband with a loving kiss. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013The kiss: It’s a familiar afternoon scene around the Borowick home, with Howie fast asleep, exhausted from the week’s chemo, and Laurel waking her husband with a loving kiss. Chappaqua, N.Y., March 2013
  • The long hallway: Recovering from a collapsed lung and managing a recent pneumonia diagnosis, Howie strolls the hallways of Medical Oncology with an assist from Laurel. Greenwich, Conn., November 2013The long hallway: Recovering from a collapsed lung and managing a recent pneumonia diagnosis, Howie strolls the hallways of Medical Oncology with an assist from Laurel. Greenwich, Conn., November 2013
  • Dancing in the kitchen: Howie breaks into a bouncing dance in hopes of coaxing a smile from Laurel. Chappaqua, N.Y. February 2013Dancing in the kitchen: Howie breaks into a bouncing dance in hopes of coaxing a smile from Laurel. Chappaqua, N.Y. February 2013

You don't know what it truly means to live until you are faced with your own mortality. I learned this from my parents, Laurel and Howie Borowick, both of whom were in treatment for stage 4 cancer at the same time in 2013. With compassion and respect, I aspired to capture the full range of their experience—from the daily banter they shared as husband and wife to their shifting dynamic as patient and caregiver.

Cancer gave my family a harsh, yet valuable gift: an awareness of time. My mother lived with her disease for nearly 20 years, and as a family we took none of those years for granted. My father had only one year with his disease. From the moment of his diagnosis, we knew our time together would be short.

By photographing my parents, I have been able to document their story and capture their essence, remembering the good times and the bad, the silly and the sad. This project has become our shared history, and I am grateful to honor their memory in this way.

Nancy Borowick '07

Nancy Borowick ’07 is a humanitarian photographer based in New York City. A graduate of the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography in New York, she is a regular contributor to the New York Times and Newsday, and her work has been featured in the International Herald Tribune, Lens Blog, CNN, Time.com, Slate, the Washington Post and other outlets.

She has won numerous national and international awards, and was named one of Lens Culture’s Top 50 Emerging Talents in 2014. Her “Cancer Family, Ongoing” project has been selected for exhibit in Cambodia, Malaysia, France and Germany.

At Union, she worked closely with Professor of Visual Arts Martin Benjamin, and served as a photo editor of the Concordiensis.

Nancy's father, Howie, passed away in December 2013. Her mother, Laurel, died in December the following year.

To learn more about the Borowick family’s experience, through Nancy’s photography, visit www.nancyborowick.com