Aliyah Petrone didn’t want anything to slow her down during her first year of college, so she tried to push through when she started to feel sick constantly. She wrote it off as just a cold—she didn’t want to have to put her dancing on hold.
But eventually, things got so bad that she started fainting, and she didn’t have the energy to stand up in the shower. She thought she had mono, and she finally called her mom to take her to the hospital. At first, the doctor agreed that she probably had mono. Then the blood work came back. Aliyah had leukemia.
During treatment, Aliyah dreamed of the beach. It’s her favorite place. When Aliyah met photographer Jordan Matter, she told him about her dream of getting back to the beach after her treatment. Together they agreed they would meet at the beach when Aliyah was well enough.
They took one photo right then, with Aliyah lifting her leg straight above her head while hooked up to chemo, and then they didn’t see each other until Aliyah’s photoshoot.
The pictures are staggering—made of the kind of beauty that makes you want to cry.
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During the shoot Aliyah tells about how hard it was to go back to dancing after leukemia. She had a blood clot that doctors were concerned about, and she had lost most of her muscle mass. But she kept going back to her studio. She wanted to compete, and though not everyone was sure she’d make be ready for competition in time, Aliyah had already made up her mind.
As she poses for Jordan’s photos, it’s easy to see the passion and determination that drove Aliyah through chemotherapy and on to her competition. The photos are amazing both because of their subject and the story they tell. We’re so glad that Jordan and Aliyah met to make this inspiring photoshoot possible!