Professional Photographer, Husband & Father, and Stage III HPV-attributed Tonsil Cancer Survivor; Leeds, MA
Paul was diagnosed with Stage III HPV-attributed tonsil cancer in October of 2012, and a month later, began his treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Upon successful completion of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, he joined the Board of Associates at Fox Chase, and also became one of the cancer center’s vendors–photographing doctors and patients for marketing campaigns, as well as staff headshots, events, and environmental portraits.
His attitude, then and now, is to make the most of his diagnosis and to take advantage of every opportunity cancer presents him.
Paul and his wife, Amy, celebrated the birth of their only child, Amelia, in March of 2015. In the summer of 2016, they decided to relocate to New England, settling permanently in the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. He is now a patient at Dartmouth Hitchcock Cancer Center in New Hampshire.
The Reitanos move to New England is directly related to Paul’s cancer experience, as health and quality of life became the priorities for the entire family.
“We had wonderful years in the Philadelphia area, but we decided to take ourselves out of the ‘rat race’ and slow things down by moving to the country,” explained Paul. “Cancer can rearrange your priorities, and every move I’ve made since my diagnosis has been informed by my experience.”
Paul’s “one-man show,” Thrive: The Overcome Project, will be on display at the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro, Vermont, in November 2018. It will feature photos taken during his treatment, as well as portraits of those who helped him through his cancer journey.
He regards his success as a direct result of getting the best possible care at Fox Chase. “I cannot stress this enough: when you are diagnosed with cancer, GO TO A CANCER HOSPITAL!” he urges. “After that, go to another cancer hospital for a second opinion. This can literally mean the difference between life and death, or the quality of your life post-treatment.”