Bert Spangemacher about the book "Faces of Courage and Hope"

In October 2009, I was diagnosed with CML during a routine check-up. I will never forget the moment when I was called by my doctor and received the news. In that second, I felt as if my life plan had been derailed and that I had lost my sense of direction.

The CML diagnosis forced me to start a new chapter in my life with many questions and uncertainties ahead of me. After dealing with the initial shock, I became occupied by learning the basics about CML, but despite all the information one can find online or offline about the disease I still had many unanswered questions: How did other people with CML manage their diagnosis and treatments? What did they go through and how are they doing today?

After living with CML now for almost five years, I have my own story to tell and I wanted to capture other CML patients’ stories through what I do best, photography. Capturing the right moment, finding the perfect composition, and utilizing light and shadow is my way of communicating.

Each CML patient has changed his or her life in one way or another and has learnt to adapt to new circumstances. Perhaps they have used this incident to go on a very different path and to begin a new life. I want to support other CML patients and their families by sharing these stories of hope with them.

This book could not be possible without my partner, Leukämie-Online platform founder Jan Geissler, who found me by chance and invited me to the 2009 CML Horizons meeting in Munich, which influenced me greatly and led us to embark on the journey to make this book together.

A CML diagnosis is hard, but it can also lead to creativity, courage and love.

Bert Spangemacher