Human Faces of a Disease – exhibition at Collegium Humanum

The exhibition of “Human Faces of a Disease. A Valuable Life and Life Full of Values in the Photography of the Institute of Awareness is a unique event organized by Collegium Humanum together with the Institute of Awareness Foundation, the inauguration of which took place on 7 August 2020.
The idea of the exhibition was to show how chronic diseases develop and persist – but from the human and real side, so that one could identify with the sick, show solidarity and also support. The aim was to get to know the real people and their life stories.
The first inaugural edition of the exhibition organized during the debate “Patient aware of the healthcare system” was devoted to patients suffering from PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) – a very rare and severe disease with which patients struggle throughout their lives.
It is not without any reason, however, that the exhibition is subtitled “A Valuable Life and Life Full of Values”, because those patients shown in the photographs happen to be extremely inspiring people who live their full lives despite serious, everyday challenges regarding their health.
The exhibition is a unique photographic journey through human emotions and the fullness of life with and despite the disease. “We were inspired by people, the patients whom we had the pleasure to meet thanks to the activities of our Foundation. And so we have decided to show their difficult everyday life that is full of challenges and emotions, but also full of joy of life and strength that accompanies them every day. Love, helplessness, pain, fear, awareness, family, faith and hope are the values that make up the fullness of human emotions of the patients presented in the photographs”, says Ewelina Zych-Myłek, the President of the Institute of Awareness Foundation.
A life full of emotions and values. 
Every story is different – from a teenager who finds out she has a few months to live, to young couples who have to deal with the idea of never having biological children to middle-aged people who already have a fulfilled and peaceful life so they can take care of their health. Some of the women in the photographs are not patients themselves, but their children suffer from PAH and so the emotional situations in their families, between parents and siblings are very difficult to bear.
There is actually no shortage of sad and tragic stories in which women with pulmonary arterial hypertension are abandoned by their husbands or partners, who were unable to cope with the responsibility and care of a chronically ill person. But there are also stories about happy relationships and families where the disease has strengthened and reevaluated their life.
Patients suffering from PAH live day to day, they do not know what will come tomorrow, while their dreams often come down to being able to perform the simplest everyday activities that healthy people do not even notice.
Human approach to man
It is not without reason that the first inaugural exhibition took place at Collegium Humanum, whose fundamental values perfectly fit into the important social message and values that the exhibition is there to promote.
“Our motto is Be More Humanum and these words are behind the actual action taken by our University to build awareness, promote always actual human values and engage in socially important projects. That is why we are glad that together with the Institute of Awareness Foundation and our partners – the Law Office Prawo, Gospodarka, Zdrowie as well as “Patient in the Centre” Service and the Polish Federation of Hospitals, we were able to organize this unique exhibition”, emphasized prof. Paweł Czarnecki, Provost of Collegium Humanum.