The above video is taken from Angelo Merendino’s photography exhibition — one of the projects he raised funds for in his moving Indiegogo campaign. After his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he began to document her battle, and his photos quickly resonated with cancer patients, survivors, and their relatives around the world.
He set up an Indiegogo campaign to help crowdfund an exhibition of the pictures of his wife as well as to create a book documenting her fight against cancer.
An overwhelming outpouring from the community helped Angelo nearly double his fundraising goal and turn his project idea into a reality — creating an incredible legacy for his wife and a voice for those who struggle with cancer.
I got a chance to speak with Angelo about his inspiring campaign and find out what project he’s working on next:
Andrew: How did you first get into photography?
Angelo: Around 2001 I was living in Nashville, playing music and bartending. I needed a change and a friend let me use her camera, an old Canon AE-1. I looked through the viewfinder and pushed the shutter…I’ll never forget that sound. I was hooked!
Andrew: How did you find out about Indiegogo?
Angelo: Last year I was trying to figure out how I could have an exhibition of the photographs I was making about my wife’s and my day to day life with cancer. I had heard a little about crowdfunding and after doing some research it was clear that Indiegogo was the best choice.
Andrew: What made you decide to use Indiegogo for your campaign?
Angelo: I like that Indiegogo offers flexible funding. Some other sites are all or nothing and at the time of my first campaign, my wife’s health was not great. I was aware of the possibility that I might not have the time needed to hit my goal but because of flexible funding, I would still have something. Plus, I sent an email to the staff at Indiegogo and the response felt right – responses from other crowd-funding sites didn’t give me a feeling that they would be there for my needs.
Andrew: Your project is incredibly moving. What moved you about the crowdfunding process?
Angelo: Thank you. I was humbled to see so much support. Thankfully, a lot of people shared our campaign and many of the donations were from people we didn’t know. Again, that was very humbling.
Andrew: What was a non-monetary benefit of your Indiegogo campaign?
Angelo: When I launched my campaign, my late wife Jennifer and I were in a really rough spot. Every day was a struggle and we didn’t know what her cancer was going to do next. There was so much love and encouragement surrounding our campaign and the comments from people really brought light to our days.
Andrew: What steps did you take after your campaign ended?
Angelo: After my campaign ended I worked hard to finish the book and fulfill my perks (!) as well as ordering prints for my exhibition. The exhibition was a great success and since then I have been able to shed some light on the reality of day to day life with cancer.
Andrew: What’s your best piece of advice for future crowdfunders?
Angelo: Do your homework!!! I spent a lot of time going over my budget and perks. There is a lot of work involved in a campaign so before you start, make sure there are no loose ends. Also, I sent thank you responses to every person who donated and I kept up with updates. I think this kept people’s interest and they realized that I am doing this from my heart.
Andrew: What’s your next project?
Angelo: Jennifer passed in December of 2011 and since then I have started editing all of the photos I made of our life together. I have launched a new campaign and the money raised will allow me to share these photos with the world and produce a book that will accompany a traveling exhibition. The photographs, centering around Jennifer and her battle with breast cancer, tell a story of love, grace and courage in the face of a horrible disease. My goal is to bring awareness to the realities of a daily life with cancer and the importance of being there for someone who is fighting for his or her life.