Detroit Photographer Vuhlandes Diagnosed With Leukemia

A GoFundMe has been established to help with his medical expenses.
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Detroit-raised photographer Vuhlandes is known for his authenticity in capturing the realities of Detroit’s west side, his home since he was 10. He maintains authenticity in the face of struggle in recent social media posts announcing his diagnosis with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

In a YouTube video posted April 1, Vuhlandes, who was featured in Hour Detroit in 2015, explains that he began to experience unusual back and stomach pains while fasting for Ramadan. When the pain became severe, he was taken to the ER, where doctors discovered he had an extremely high white blood cell count. After many more tests, including a bone marrow biopsy, he was diagnosed on March 17 with ALL, an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

His friend, Sam Sklar, created a GoFundMe to help offset medical expenses and costs of living as Vuhlandes goes through treatment. Sklar explains in the GoFundMe post that treatment, including chemotherapy, will likely take 3 years, the heaviest treatment occurring during the first year.

The money could prove to be essential in overcoming any unexpected challenges in Vuhlandes’ healing process. Any money donated but not used by Vuhlandes will be given to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Sklar says doctors remain optimistic, and so does Vuhlandes.

“I think it’s important for me to note that this isn’t a death sentence,” he says in the YouTube announcement.

The self-taught photographer has always had a talent for finding beauty in a bleak situation. His work does not shy away from depicting the gun violence and deterioration of the neighborhood he grew up in, while still conveying a celebration of home.

Vuhlandes maintains this attitude while looking forward.

“So far, I’ve had really, really bad days and I’ve had some decent days, and I’d like to take some of those decent days with the bad and just be as positive as I possibly can,” he says in the video. “It’s a great time and opportunity to learn more about myself and just life itself and make the best of this experience.”

For those looking to help Vuhlandes on his healing journey, you can visit Sklar’s GoFundMe here. For a deeper dive into Vuhlandes’ work, check out “At Street Level” — and be sure to visit hourdetroit.com for even more community news.