Lola Muñoz is 13 years old and faces death. She chooses to live the last days of her life fully. This is her story.
Featuring: Moriah Ratner
United Photo Industries
James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog
Lola Muñoz, 13, has lived the last 18 months as if they were her last, because they are. She is an extraordinary girl. As she faces the terminal conclusion of an untreatable brain cancer, she has lived every day to its fullest with the complete and utter support and encouragement from her family. Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), an inoperable tumor on the brainstem, forced Lola to mature beyond her years, making it difficult to connect with peers, and leading to exclusion.
Lola is one of the 200-400 children that DIPG affects between the ages of 4 and 11 in the U.S. each year. Fewer than 10% of children with DIPG survive two years following diagnosis. In the past 40 years, none of the over 250 clinical trials for DIPG have shown improvements in chances of survival. Four percent of U.S. federal funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancer, and only 1% of this goes to pediatric brain cancer, which is not specific to DIPG.
Moriah Ratner recently graduated from the photojournalism program in the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. During the summer of 2016, she interned with The Hill, a political newspaper on Capitol Hill, as a press photographer covering hearings, press conferences and breaking news on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Following this experience, she spent a week interning at Annie Leibovitz’s studio in New York City, assisting with administrative tasks and researching shoot concepts. Moriah was a staff photographer for Syracuse University’s independent newspaper, The Daily Orange, and previously held a position as an assistant photo editor. This past summer, Moriah was the photography/videography intern for the Naples Daily News in Southwest Florida.
Moriah is a member of WPOW, NPPA, and the White House News Photographers Association. Moriah is the 2018 recipient of WPOW’s Lena Grant, the 2018 recipient of NPPF’s Reid Blackburn and Richard Clarkson Scholarships, and the 2017 recipient of the Virginia News Photographers Association George Smith Memorial Scholarship. Moriah won first place in the 2018 Hearst Journalism Awards Program for Picture Story/Series. Moriah attended the Eddie Adams Workshop XXX and the 2018 New York Portfolio Review. Moriah is based in Portland, Oregon.