About the Survivor Series

The most important and enduring stories – the ones that we tell and then tell again -- have always been ones of survival, the tales of an archetypal hero’s journey. Throughout history, storytelling in its many forms has been the reigning functional medium that moves the human spirit forward.

The Survivor Series was created to, every Sunday, share with you the timeless images and stories of those who have dug deep in the wild unknown -- far beneath the world’s superficial clamor -- to face the mysteries of cancer and mortality with the full realness of being, and of being small. These are people who have wandered uncertainly somewhere between darkness and light to ultimately return, transformed with the spark of lived courage in insurmountable danger.

Survivors know best that, while sometimes we cannot always cause light, we can always search to place ourselves in the path of its beam. When we surrender to the graceful rewards of attentiveness, we are shown again and again that there are things out there that need to be found, that will be.

It is with generosity of soul that survivors teach us about seeing. They have, in their own ways, learned a man’s dying is as much another person’s affair as his own; that understanding suffering is the best gift you can give another person.

Through their stories and shining faces, the amazing local individuals in this series show us how to be gracious in the humble magic of a single gifted moment, to celebrate equally in the smallness and grandeur of life. In their images, perhaps we too can gleam as sunshine for others, for they can show us how to hope and heal, survive and live.

So let’s begin here, shall we?

 Emily Price // editor, Survivor Series // digital strategist, professor & sometimes journalist // survivor of mother Gayle (ovarian cancer) & grandmother Helen (leukemia)


“About 7 months ago, my best friend in the world who has always been my photographic ‘voice,’ told me I needed to find a way to give back with my passion.  Not long after that, I met Kay Roper [executive director of the park] by chance, and we started talking about photography.  We discussed the Cancer Survivors Park, and Kay told me about her idea to show survivors to the world.  Having lost my mom to cancer, I knew God's hand was in this.

“It was so difficult losing our mom at a relatively young age (60), and it took me years to feel like I understood what I was supposed to take away from it all. When I finally started to understand it, the ‘cycle of life’ came to mean something special to me. My mother was an incredible musician, and spent her life making others happy with music. She taught for many years, conducted the choirs in our church, and ran an amazing program for gifted students in South Carolina. I grew up going to the symphony, the opera, and being taught to appreciate all the arts. Many years later, when I developed a passion for photography, I came to realize that my love of photography is part of my mother living and continuing through me. Each time I contemplate a photograph, or listen to classical music, I think about the fact that my mother's artistic passion was passed on to me. It's a special feeling, and makes this project mean so much to me. I hope in some way that our Sunday Survivors Series can touch people going through the difficulties of cancer and those who have survived it in some way.”

 Mark Kirby // man behind the lens, Survivor Series // special agent, army veteran & published hobby photographer // survivor of mother Charlotte (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma)


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