When Jean Met Sonia

Email a Friend
Jean Williams crocheted scarves to occupy her time while she was on medical leave from work last winter. It helped to distract her from the side effects of her chemotherapy treatments.

As part of our Prescription for the Bronx project, WNYC asked photographers at the Bronx Documentary Center to tell stories about health in their own communities by photographing Bronx residents with their “Lifelines” — the thing or person who helps keep them healthy.

Photographer Kayla Galway brought us Jean Williams' story. With three kids and a full-time job, Jean's life was already full when she was diagnosed with cancer. She reached out for support through a program at Montefiore Medical Center where she met Sonia Chevannes, a cancer survivor who lent Jean a hand when she needed one. Sonia, she says, is her lifeline.


Jean Williams sifts through anti-nausea medications left over from her chemotherapy treatments. (Kayla Galway/Bronx Documentary Center)

Jean met Sonia Chevannes through Montefiore Medical Center's BOLD Buddy program, which pairs patients in need of emotional support with volunteers and former patients. (Kayla Galway/Bronx Documentary Center)

Jean and Sonia first connected over their children. Williams has two daughters and a son, but they have lived with her sister since Jean started chemotherapy. (Kayla Galway/Bronx Documentary Center)

Jean is finished with chemotherapy, so she mostly chats with Sonia on the hard days during these last few weeks of her radiation treatments. Now that the weather is nice, Jean wants to organize picnics for other people still going through chemotherapy. (Kayla Galway/Bronx Documentary Center)