The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

Three Figures on a Bridge: Denial, Despair and Determination Mixed media: fiber, wood, metal, acrylic, 1995 34 x 18 x 14 inches

1986 was an eventful year for me: both my mother and father were battling cancer. I had graduated from college and started graduate school. My mother survived but my father only lasted a few months. I have spent the last few years trying to deal with this monster in my life.

This sculpture expresses my different reactions. The first figure is Denial: I often just want to ignore the threat of cancer in my life. The middle one -- Despair -- illustrates the way I feel when I think of the horror of my father's death, the devastation of my mother's chemotherapy, or the possibility that this silent killer is growing inside of me. The third is Determination; once I accepted the presence of cancer in my life, I decided to use it to motivate me to remain healthy.

Working with these images has brought the monster out into the light. Without my art, I don't think I could have faced the threat of cancer and the toll it has taken on my life.