Pandemic Portraits – First Friday Event

April 22, 2022

first friday event

KBFPC invites you to a special First Friday event celebrating cancer survivors:

Pandemic Portraits: A Glimpse Into Real Life Stories of Alaskan Women Fighting Cancer During the Pandemic

First Friday May 6, 5-7 PM

At the Clinic: 3959 Ben Walters Lane

KBFPC is hosting this interactive photo exhibit in partnership with Affinityfilms, Inc. for the month of May, but (unless you have an appointment!) our First Friday open house will be the community’s only chance to experience this special exhibit.

Pandemic Portraits: A Glimpse Into Real Life Stories of Alaskan Women Fighting Cancer During the Pandemic is a new Affinityfilms, Inc. – Meaningful Media project honoring Alaska women who have faced cancer during COVID. The exhibit includes a photo and audio story of sixteen different Alaska women from across the state taken by 15 different photographers. Author Deb McKinney wrote 2-3 minute narratives about each woman’s story and by clicking on the QR code with each photo, visitors can listen to narrator Michelle Conklin read the stories, allowing for insight into the journey each woman faced. The stories within Pandemic Portraits are as unique and heroic as the women profiled.

Think life during the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard? Imagine what it’s been like for Alaskans who have been fighting cancer. Add the terrifying experience of chemotherapy, radiation and being immune compromised during a pandemic to the list of other effects such as isolation, loneliness and lack of access to health care – yet many Alaskans have survived and thrived. “We wanted to honor the women who have been doing ‘double duty’ – cancer treatment during the pandemic,” said Affinityfilms Producer and Director Mary Katzke. “It’s important to understand the experience these women have been through, and how courageous they’ve been against all odds.”

Jacqui Gorlick of Anchorage faced cancer for the second time in 2019, but as she fought breast cancer, she was determined to be in the delivery room when her grandson was born. COVID protocols didn’t allow that to happen. Krystal Waterbury of Homer had to make fast decisions when she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. She shares her fears of going to work and being around other people while she was immune compromised. Vicki Panamarioff of Ouzinkie had to move to Anchorage to fight cancer that is not curable and had spread to her bones. She spent Christmas Eve of 2020 alone in the hospital’s COVID unit after getting a lung infection. She longed to return to her home on an island near Kodiak to just experience normal again. Desiree Rodriquez spent her 27th birthday alone in a Seattle hotel while fighting her second bout with cancer. Yet she found simple joy in the people who sang happy birthday to her that day. Rodriguez is now thrilled with her decision to train a Goldendoodle as her service dog.

The project is sponsored by Alaska Run for Women (also a KBFPC funder) and the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Affinityfilms, Inc. is a nonprofit media production company.