We will all eventually die. And in the face of overwhelming odds, many of our deaths will result from cancer. In the US 1 in 3 men, and 1 in 5 women, will be told they have cancer before the age of 65. The numbers alone are staggering, but cancer is uniquely cruel in ways that don’t show up in any statistic or life expectancy study. Cancer is a diagnosis of devastating public perception. More so than perhaps any other affliction, the word cancer carries with it an inescapable, life-encompassing perception of doom so powerful that the mere diagnosis can destroy a life long before the disease takes over. Forget for a moment all thoughts of causes, treatments and cures. Focus instead on the day you will receive the news. You have cancer. That day society perceives your death sentence. There is no escaping the stigma of the diagnosis. You have been branded with cancer, so live with it.
* This film is in pre-production/development for a future release. Please email any inquiries here.
The people you are about to meet have all been branded with cancer. And while they do what they must in order to live with cancer, the overwhelming perception is that they are dying. The issue is not one of mere semantics, as being branded with cancer has been devastating to each one of them. The medical odds are stacked against them, but that is just the beginning.
Meet Patty Duffy, diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43. Her life shattered as a single mother raising a daughter and now, dealing with cancer. Within 6 months, Patty is transformed from a successful business owner in the fast paced litigation industry in Minneapolis to financial devastation and the inability to continue the work pace she once thrived upon. Patty tells us of the dead ends she ran into from organizations that support cancer research but do not support cancer victims. After battling her insurance company to keep her on for 1-year before they would drop her coverage, Patty tried to collect social security only to be told they would not pay because they did not believe she would survive her surgeries. When she did survive, she was told they would not pay because she was no longer terminal. Patty explains the battles she waged to support her family while dealing with multiple surgeries and months of chemotherapy. When all is said and done we find Patty “living with cancer” in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico with a fresh perspective on life. Her story of survival is inspiring as much as it is tragic. Patty is the embodiment of being branded with cancer, and living with it.
Founder and President of Storytellers International, Inc. Director and Producer of Escape from Firebase Kate documentary film.