We are asking for help to subsidize medical expenses, costs of transportation and living expenses for the patients and their families featured in the How I Live documentary (https://www.howilivewithcancer.com/). A little goes a long way and every contribution will be warmly received. The funds will be divided equally amongst the 5 patients, every six months and used at the discretion of the families.
As a documentary filmmaker, my first experience with childhood cancer was an intimate one; my brother, Matt, was diagnosed with a tumor on his spine. Matt was 17 at the time, and lived valiantly for another ten years through five recurrences of cancer, losing a lung, a kidney and ultimately his life to the disease.
The treatment of childhood cancer in high-income countries is largely viewed as a success story, with survival rates at 80%. By contrast, in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), the survival rate averages just 20% for children with cancer.
This disparity concerned and intrigued me, and my team at Persistent Productions embarked on a five-year journey to document individual patients through their cancer treatment in Myanmar, Egypt, Guatemala, El Salvador and Ghana. 'How I Live ', a documentary film about closing the survival gap in pediatric oncology, is the culmination of this journey.
As our team followed these patients, we realized that the trauma of diagnosis for these children in LMICs is often exacerbated by the serious limitations of medical resources in their home countries as well as financial hardships and logistical challenges faced by the patients and their families.
For example, it takes one of our patients, Shein, two days and one night to travel by a series of public buses from her home to the hospital for her chemotherapy treatment, which also means a loss of income each time for her parents who bring her for treatment and therefore can't work. And even though in many cases their treatment is paid for, the cost of transportation combined with a loss of income puts the families in serious financial hardship.
There is a global movement underway to bring needed resources to places that urgently need them and to address what will be an increase in the number of children with cancer in the coming decades, hopefully closing the survival gap between High-Income Countries and Low-Income Countries in pediatric oncology.
But Shein (Myanmar), Gabo (El Salvador), Eslam (Egypt), Herber and Keira (Guatemala) - the children we followed in our film cannot afford to wait. They need your help NOW.
That's why we are asking for your help. Please consider donating to these families.
Our team at Persistent Productions will keep everyone updated with their progress, here as well as the official Facebook page for this documentary film, 'How I Live'.
Above: Eslam (Egypt) Photography Scott A Woodward
Above: Gabo (El Salvador) Photography Scott A Woodward
Above: Keira (Guatemala) Photography Scott A Woodward
Above: Shein (Myanmar) Photography Scott A Woodward
- Gertrude Shea
- Maureen and Steve Shroma
- Carol O'Neill
- Jennifer Decker
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