I’m a documentary filmmaker who turned the camera on myself a decade ago after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Ten years later, after opting out of traditional care treatments like surgery, I am not only in good health, I have emerged as a thought leader in the movement for immune enhancing, cancer reducing choices for treatment and prevention by founding the nonprofit Breast Wishes Fund.
I began filming “the ME film” in 2005 on the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I said to the camera, “I’m not going to have surgery, I’m the one who made this cancer, I’m the one who’s going to make it go away.” My childhood memory of breast cancer was my grandmother’s mutilated, concave chest and later, my dead aunt. The decision to film my life that first day gave me a sense of purpose and reprieve from being a cancer victim. However, when I brought a film crew to my hometown in New Jersey, my father was incredibly angry because he had witnessed the desperate suffering his mother, grandmother and sister had endured and he didn’t want to participate in a film about my possible death. I think he also felt guilty for his genes. His reaction hurt me but I kept filming because I feel our fractured relationship is a big part of my cancer story.
My family’s fear for my life and the lack of information about my choices quickly convinced me to do chemo, a decision I regret. But after chemo, I kept both my breasts, the tumor site and reproductive organs—and I started pioneering alternative therapies, some of which were a painful waste of time and money. In the process, I almost went bankrupt. But one therapy was a successful cancer vaccine. And, last year, when I filmed my father expressing his wholehearted support of my cancer treatment choices, I knew the bulk of filming was finally complete. He and my mom are now the biggest supporters of Breast Wishes Fund, the nonprofit I founded. Cancer made me grow up to be a better person and daughter, helping me recognize my spiritual commitment to public service
the ME film trailer
SOCIAL ACTION AND AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
How is it possible that Angelina Jolie removed her breasts as prevention for cancer and I still have both of mine, living with cancer for a decade? My TedxTalk “When Did Our Breasts Become an Accessory?” addresses this question. In addition, I founded the nonprofit Breast Wishes Fund whose mission is “Give US Choices for Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention”. No one had heard of fracking before “Gasland” and “the ME film” with Breast Wishes Fund is primed to offer choices for optimum quality of life right now, before, during or after a diagnosis.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October),Breast Wishes is filming events around my 10 year diagnosis anniversary. Additional filming may include interviews by me with my diagnosing surgeon and leaders in the movement for immune enhancing cancer treatment, prevention and legislation. There are several edits, timelines and over 120 hours of organized footage. The team includes: consulting producer/director Dyanna Taylor, a five-time Emmy award winning Cinematographer and Director of Photography whose prominent career in documentaries and features has also earned her a Peabody Award. Michael Mierendorf, a highly respected documentary filmmaker who has received three Emmys, filmed the dramatic first week and interviews over the first year.
“the ME film” trailer 2:31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0dY8eb7kLs
“the ME film” Teaser 8:14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb23cK7uj3g&feature=youtu.be
TedxTalk “When Did Our Breasts Become an Accessory?” 9:13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M8hoVFpSIg