In 1994, Salt Lake City filmmaker Twinkle Chisholm followed the stories of five Utah women living with breast cancer. This month, she presents a follow-up to that program titled, Remembering the Faces of Breast Cancer, which looks at how things have changed in the last 17 years. The half-hour documentary airs Monday, October 24, at 9 p.m. on KUED.
Two of the women she profiled lost their battle with breast cancer. The other three are cancer free.
Eileen Gray was only 23 when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. She went through two rounds of chemotherapy before her tumor was small enough to be surgically removed. She died in 1998 just before her 28th birthday. Frieda McCoy died in March 1995, a few months after the documentary aired.
Betty Pitman is now retired, enjoys a good game of golf and is very active in her church. Bonnie Stellmacher, who retired from the military, is moving to the dream home she and her husband built in Nevada. Michelle Thomas, whose experience turned her into an activist, is cancer free, but struggles with an autoimmune muscle disease called polymyositis.
Chisholm interviews each of the survivors as well as the husband of Frieda. Chisholm recalls on camera how she and her best friend, Tanya Mahood, befriended the young Eileen, whose dying wish was to see The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Chisholm arranged not only tickets to the show, but a meeting with Rosie afterwards.
"Working on the follow-up brought back a lot of memories, especially of Eileen - some really great ones and some really sad ones," says Chisholm. "Luckily, we've seen improvements in treatments over the past 17 years."
Breast Cancer: Next Steps
Those advances will be discussed in a Breast Cancer: Next Steps, a half-hour follow-up panel with top experts. The first half will focus on advances in research and new treatment options. The second half addresses available community resources. Utah ranks in the bottom five states nationally of women getting mammograms, which is one of the best methods of early detection.
KUED will host a phone bank with volunteers from the breast cancer support and outreach community during the documentary, and follow-up panel discussion program. During the broadcasts, viewers can request free resource packets in both Spanish and English.
To reach a broader audience, the half-hour documentary will be subtitled in Spanish for broadcast on KUED V-me- Channel 7.3 (Comcast 108) on Monday, October 24 at 7 p.m. A specially produced follow-up program, entirely in Spanish with Spanish-speaking experts will air on V-me at 7:30p.m., immediately following the documentary.
Panelists for the Spanish language version, hosted by Christina Flores of KUTV, include:
In addition to the programs on each channel, PSAs encouraging mammograms will air on both KUED and in Spanish on KUED V-me. A companion website will link viewers to community resources, events and non-profit organizations. Viewers also will be able to watch the original Faces of Breast Cancer documentary online.
Remembering the Faces of Breast Cancer and the follow-up program are funded by a grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Remembering the Faces of Breast Cancer
Mon. Oct. 24, 9PM
Mon, Oct. 24, 7PM in Spanish on V-me
Breast Cancer: Next Steps
Mon. Oct. 24, 9:30PM
Mon Oct 24, 7:30PM in Spanish on V-me
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