C - A Celebration of Life " You Have Cancer ". These three words can strike fear in the heart of the strongest person. But having cancer doesn't mean an end to hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This documentary follows the lives of Survivors, all in different decades of life, with different ethnic backgrounds, and cancers, that have bravely fought the battle and come out on the other side happier, wiser, and with a greater zest for living. Their message to you... " Embrace your life and celebrate each day. " That is their secret weapon in the fight against " The Big C "
Meet the Inspirational Survivors
Luisa Diaz is a remarkable young woman. At a time when our Generation Y'ers are spending their days in front of a computer, or texting on their cell phones, she is planning and fundraising for the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundations " Dream Night Prom ". At a time when most girls are worried that they're wearing the latest fashion, she is helping to support and council families that have just learned their child has cancer. In her spare time she works to obtain a grant for a cancer based Youth Service Project. Though she has gone through chemo, radiation, and not one but two bone marrow transplants in a very difficult battle with Leukemia, she has persevered and attained her goal of completing her education. Her dream is to be a childhood cancer oncologist.
She has been awarded the " 2010 Outstanding Teen Citizen Award ", " The Crystal Apple Youth Award ", " The Mexican Raza Award "and " The Youth Service America Award ". www.candlelightersaz.org
Josh Sundquist is is not letting anything stand in his way, especially the battle with bone cancer that left him with only one leg. At the tender age of 10, after a year of chemo, and then amputation, he turned to motivational speaking. At 16 he learned to ski, and six years later represented the U.S. as a ski racer in the Paralympic Games in Turino, Italy. At 18, he became the second youngest person to be accepted as a Professional Member of the National Speakers Assoc., has been a keynote speakerat schools, Fortune 500 Companies, and the White House. He has a degree in Business and a Masters in Communication, has had articles published in The Washington Post, Daily Guideposts, and Current, has co-authored a teen devotional book, and his new book ” Just Don’t Fall ” hit the bestseller list. January. In his spare time, he served a two year term as the National Spokesperson for the Combined Federal Campaign, an effort that raises over 300 million a year for charities, and founded the ” LessThanFour.org ” website, which has become the world’s largest social networking website for amputees. www.joshsundquist.com
Paul Sibley, who grew up in the outdoors of Louisiana, became the first person in his family to receive an M.B.A., and completed over 100 triathlons, adventure races, and ultramarathons,was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma in January of 2006. After surviving extensive surgery and aggressive radiation therapy, he returned to complete the HURT 100 Trail Endurance Run in January 2007, during which he raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. Since then, he has founded the CancerRunner.org charity to raise money for those in need, and continues to be a loud voice supporting both people battling cancer, and as an advocate for cancer legislation and funding. www.CancerRunner.org
Anne Shimabukuro is a very accomplished business
woman. A graduate of the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania with an MBA from
Harvard Business School, she has climbed the
corporate ladder to reach the office of
Vice President of Treasury for Marriott International. At 37 years old, and a mother of two young children, she was on top of the world, and then she received the shocking news. In December of 2005, she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. She was not about to let that be the end of her story and immediately underwent surgery. While going through the follow up chemo and radiation therapies, she continued to work full time and also began her role as an advocate to help spread awareness and the need for funding for this deadly disease. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Food & Friends in Washington DC, and volunteers with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. www.foodandfriends.org
Leimomi Golis has always been an extremely caring individual. After losing her parents at a very young age, she took over as guardian to her siblings, and as a single mother, raised a son that was inflicted with Microcephaly, a disease similar to Cerebral Palsy. In 1998, when she was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, she proved she was also very brave. She made the decision to enter a clinical trial, completed a stem cell transplant, went back to school, and received her BSN Nursing degree. Since then she has become the head of the longest running cancer support group on Oahu, has worked with the American Cancer Society on numerous fund raisers, continues to work full time, and is caring for her younger sister as she battles Breast Cancer. www.kapiolani.org/pali-momi/classes-and-events/default.aspx#cancersupport
E! Entertainment called her " One of the world's most intriguing women". Anthony Robbins says " She is a miracle you must Experience ". Kathy Buckley is a great many things, including a five time nominee for " Best Stand Up Female Comedienne ", an award winning actress, accomplished author and renowned inspirational speaker. Whether you've seen her on " Touched by an Angel ", The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, or a dozen other TV shows; caught her critically acclaimed one woman Off-Broadway show " Don't Buck with Me/Now Hear This! "; laughed at her comedy in Vegas; or read her book " If You Could Hear What I See "; you've been touched by a woman of great substance. Her awards and accomplishments are too numerous to mention here, but by the way, she's also a Cervical Cancer survivor. www.kathybuckley.com
Venus Gines, then a flight attendant, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 1992, and consequently decided to focus her graduate research on cancer in Latinas. In 1996, Venus developed a culturally specific video/picture book on Breast Cancer (Una Nueva Esperanza) and later (Hombre Sin Limite) on Prostate Cancer for the American Cancer Society. Soon Dia de la Mujer Latina became a reality when Venus, together with ACS & the Mexican Consulate's office, implemented the first non-traditional culturally relevant Latino family health fiesta. Since then she as served on numerous committees, panels, and roundtables focusing on health care and cancer, and has received the Compañeros Award, The Vision of Hope Award, and The National Latina Activist Award.In October of 2009, Venus was invited to speak at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama, in an event to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month www.diadelamujerlatina.org
Elliot Joseph is President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare (HHC), the premiere health care network in Connecticut. In his long career in healthcare, he has championed the transformation of health care delivery through government reform and market-based restructuring, to create more efficient, high-quality, regional health networks focused on coordinated and comprehensive patient care. In his very limited spare time, he hosts a monthly radio show, "HealthCare Matters," which focuses on current health care issues. He is a member of the Greater New York Hospital Association Board of Governors, on the board of directors of the Capital Area Health Consortium, a member of the Connecticut Hospital Association Board of Trustees, the Metro Hartford Alliance Board of Directors and the Bushnell Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees.
Mack Dryden is a very funny man ! He's also a double
cancer survivor. Born and raised in Mississippi, with a MA
degree in creative writing, he decided to spend a little time
in Europe before settling into career, and by a strange turn
of events, ran head on into a Moroccan prison. After having
entirely too much fun there, he came back to the U.S. as a
newspaper reporter, won some AP writing awards, and
then finally found his calling; as he puts it " making people laugh until their face hurts ". He has been on " The Tonight Show ", with Johnny and
Jay, had numerous acting roles, including " JAG " and a
recurring role on " The Guardian ", and was hand picked
by Bill Maher as a staff writer for " Politically Incorrect ". To top that off, he's a black belt Karate champion,
Barbara Hillary, who in 2007, at 75 years young, became
the first African American woman on record to reach the North Pole on skis. Now to make it even more amazing, she did it without the part of the left lung that she lost to cancer. After being raised in Harlem during the depression, losing her father at 2, and spending a lonely period in a foster home, she decided to stand on her own two feet, and make something of her life. She received her masters degree,
spent a half century in nursing, retired at 62, and in her
own words " has refused to be boring ! ".
Since her retirement, she has photographed
polar bears in Churchill, learned snowmobiling,
dog-sledding and skiing. and in 2011 became the first
Russell Jim has not let anything slow him down, not his
throat cancer, or his seventy something years of living. As the ER/WM Program Manager, he represents the
Yakama Nation to address all facets of the nuclear and
hazardous waste problems of the Hanford Nuclear Site.
His work involves influencing the cleanup, restoration, and
return of the environmental integrity of the site. He has served
14 years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, had two terms on
the Yakama Tribal Council,was a governor appointee to
the Washington State Nuclear Waste Policy Committee and
the Washington Commission for the Humanities. His
extraordinary resume also includes; President of the
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Area Vice-President
of the National Congress of American Indians , Chairman
of the National Indian Nuclear Waste Policy Committee,
Assistant Secretary appointee to the Environmental
Management Advisory Committee, and Secretary
of the Board of the Center for World Indigenous Studies.
Arthur Ashe once said " I only want to be good enough to be able to beat Bob Ryland ". As a child in
Alabama, he spent his days witnessing the atrocities of southern prejudice, and his nights sleeping with his
wooden tennis racquet. Through his high school and
college years, he won numerous championships in Illinois and Louisiana, and when World War II began,
while serving in Special Services, he somehow found
time to play on the ATA circuit. He finished as a Singles
runner up nationally in 1942, 1943, and 1944. After the war he continued to play competitively,
and in 1959 broke the color barrier by becoming the
first African American professional tennis player. Eventually he turned his talent to coaching,
which included being Bill Cosby's personal coach,
as well as some time with Venus and Serena Williams.
In 2006, in his mid eighties, he won the USTA 85 and
overpublic parks title. Today at 89, he still plays tennis
regularly, coaches children, and through his extremely positive attitude, is an eleven year Prostate Cancer survivor. www.bobrylandworldtour.com
There are many special things about this incredible lady besides the fact that she just celebrated her 106th birthday. Yes, you read that right. She shared her childhood with 13 brothers and sisters, put herself through school, received her Masters, and spent her adult life working full time as an educator while raising a family. Somehow she also found time to satisfy her passion for travel, and has visited countries all over the world, including Thailand at 104, so she could ride an elephant. Throughout her life, she has been active in community service, worked to promote world peace, voted in every election, and never missed an opportunity to laugh. She's up at 6 am every morning, spends time at the Senior Center, is planning her next trip, and enjoys a margarita every now and then. Oh, and by the way, she is a double cancer survivor.
Meet the Medical Professionals
Dr. Andrew Salner
Dr. Melvin Palalay
Dr. Salner is the Chief of the Radiation Oncology Department of Hartford Hospital, as well as the Director of The Helen & Harry Grey Cancer Center. He has been a volunteer for the American Cancer Society (ACS) since 1981, has served on and chaired numerous unit, division, and national ACS committees and boards. He has received many awards and honors including the American Cancer Society’s St. George Medal, Lane Adams Quality of Life Award, and a Fellowship in the American College of Radiology. His current areas of research include cancer communications for patients and families, cancer early detection for the underserved and preparedness for radiologic terrorism.
Dr. Melvin P. Palalay is an Internist, Hematology Specialist, and an Oncology Specialist with over 17 years
of experience. He works tirelessly not only as a physician, but also as an advocate for organizations like the
American Cancer Society, the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, and many others. He is the kind of doctor that
truly cares about his patients and their welfare.
Dr. Elizabeth Elliott
Leilani Grippin - Karasaki R.N.
Dr. Elizabeth Elliott has a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine as well as a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine. She specializes in Women’s Health, hormone balancing, and the treatment of depression and anxiety, as well as treating patients who suffer from chronic diseases, and the side effects of cancer and cancer treatments. She also worked in local community clinics providing medical care to underserved populations. She has had additional mentorship in Five Element Acupuncture, a unique style of acupuncture designed to address the deepest causes of mental, emotional, and physical imbalance. She uses acupuncture, both Chinese and Western botanicals, nutrition, homeopathy, and physical medicine. She has the same goal for all of her patients: to look at all aspects of an individual’s health to identify and treat the root cause of disease and imbalance, and to help them live their lives joyfully and to their fullest potential
If you're going to go into battle with the Big C, Leilani Grippin-Karasaki is the caregiver you want in your corner. An acute-care oncology nurse at The Queen's Medical Center since 1990, and for a time a member of the Hospice Hawaii team, she was named one of Hawaii's " Ten Who Made a Difference " for 2009. This is an honor given by the Star-Bulletin to recognize people who noticeably helped bring change to Hawaii or contributed in outstanding ways. Queen's president Art Ushijima credits her as one of the reasons the hospital achieved the Magnet Designation-the highest recognition there is for nursing. What truly makes her special though, is that she cares with her entire being about the people in her charge, no matter where they are in their treatment. As those who are lucky enough to know her will tell you, she is in every way a credit to her profession.
Meet the Musicians
Ray & Bree Bumatai
Ray Bumatai was an extremely talented actor, musician, comedian, and stunt man who was seen in Feature Films, TV Movies and Series, as well as on local Hawaii Stages. He was also the voice of many loved cartoon characters. You may remember him in the hit TV Movie " Blood & Orchids ", or the highly popular " Magnum P.I.". He unfortunately lost his battle with brain cancer in 2005, but left us a wonderful gift of music. You will hear some of his inspirational pieces in this film, thanks to the generosity of his wife, Bree Bumatai. As an associate producer of Manoa Valley Theatre, she is also a very talented actress, director, producer, and artist in her own right.
Ida Goeckel has loved music as long as she can remember.
As she has said, it is the air her soul breathes, and
the backdrop of her life. She started playing the
piano at age 7, moved to the guitar at 12, and found her true passion in the electric bass at 40. She has played with a number of bands focusing primarily on classic rock and blues, and recently co-founded a seven piece R & B group that is taking Buffalo by storm. Musician, composer, philosopher, social butterfly, hockey fan, and owl lover, she is special in many ways, but what puts her head above the crowd is what she is really doing with her music. You see, Ida is a Breast Cancer Survivor, and she puts her time and greatest love into raising funds to make sure others that are fighting that disease get the care they need. " Female Musicians Fighting Breast Cancer" is her
brainchild, and the annual concerts that the group puts on with a number of the well known musicians in the area, provide a great influx of funds to that cause. http://www.myspace.com/fmfbc
If you look in the dictionary for the word " Perseverance ", you'll find a picture of Tommy Davidson. Twelve years ago, he went to the doctor to see why he wasn't feeling well, and was told he had the flu. When his health didn't improve, it was supposedly Kidney Stones, then Lymphoma, and when they finally diagnosed him correctly, he was in Stage 4 Seminoma, a fast growing Testicular Cancer, and given a one in three chance of survival. Well he wasn't about to let that be the end of his story, so he fought through four months of intensive chemotherapy, and eight surgeries in ten months, the final surgery being a 15 hour ordeal that included a ruptured aorta. Now, ten years after being declared cured, he is juggling two careers, one as a Professional Trombonist, and the other as a Music Educator. So during the day, he is shaping lives as an Artist in Residence with the Lafayette Arts & Sciences Foundation teaching elementary and middle school instrumental music, or co-directing the award winning Stanley Middle School Jazz Band. At night, he performs with bands like The Temptations, The Tower of Power Horns with Mic Gillette, and The Harold Jones Orchestra.
Other Movies Produced by Mission Positive Films
H.U.R.T. 100 Running the Rainforest This film follows an amazing group of men and women through the rainforest of Oahu, Hawaii as they attempt to complete 100 mountainous miles in 36 hours. The HURT 100 Trail Endurance Run is known as one of the hardest ultramarathons in the U.S., and through the footage of the trails and interviews with the runners, you'll get a feel for the challenges they face. 2 Disk Set - Running Time 1 hour 36 Minutes Production Studio - Mission Possible Films
MISSION POSSIBLE - BADWATER 135 Miles, 120 Degrees, 60 Hours 13,000' of Elevation Gain Death Valley, California - July 2007 What began as a footrace, became an incredible journey of courage and heart. This is the inspirational story of 65 year young Don Fallis and his quest to complete the hardest footrace on the planet, The Badwater Ultramarathon. Production Studio - Mission Possible Films