Hernan, a long term cancer survivor, is traveling the country to all 50 states to film and hear 50 young people’s cancer stories – currently he has traveled 46 states.
Together with Hernan, we have created the Road Rebellion. Our hope is that Hernan’s documentary will inspire change and encourage hospitals to create specialist facilities and lead teams of experts that understand how best to support teens and young adults and treat the rare cancers that affect them.
“The voices of teens & young adults across the country will raise the profile of the unique challenges they face…fighting cancer as a teenager is an isolating experience. With Teen Cancer America, we can change that” – Hernan
An early version of Hernan’s full length documentary was screened at this year’s Cleveland International Film Festivall (CIFF39). The Road Rebellion continues to impact the lives of everyone involved: the crew, the teens and young adults both going through treatment and survivorship, and viewers. One viewer in Ohio was particularly moved by Hernan’s efforts, and we anticipate much more to come as The Road Rebellion connects teen and young adult cancer (TYACancer) fighters, patients, survivors and families across America.
I saw your short film, The Road Rebellion, at the Cleveland International Film Festival this year. It’s difficult to describe the flurry of emotions that poured out of me while watching the film, and I commend and respect you for what you have done.
My brother, Kevin, passed away to medullablastoma brain cancer in 2012 at the age of 33, almost 4 years after being diagnosed. His type of brain cancer was typically a pediatric cancer, so his first visits to the oncologist and subsequent radiation and chemo took place in the pediatric ward. When the young man in your film, who is an Afghanistan war veteran and 22, described being in the waiting room of a pediatric oncologist, I could so identify with that. My brother had to wait in rooms filled with cartoons on the walls and toys everywhere. Although Kevin was not a teenager when he was diagnosed, he was hardly the median age of the other patients I saw in the cancer ward when I’d take him for chemo.
I really saw him in so many of the kids you interviewed. The teens in your film would describe an experience, move a certain way, have bald heads, and it took me back to Kev.
I cried so hard when you mentioned that you had lost three of the kids during your journey. Of course, it’s reality, but after losing someone so close to you to that awful disease, it really hits you to hear someone else has passed because of it, as well. And one of the saddest things, to me, is when children and young adults die from cancer.
But I also was incredibly touched by the strength, resilience, and outlook of these kids. They are faced with a disease that takes so many lives, but they are able to take the good from it. That one girl who said she makes the most of every day, not because it might be her last but because it’s just how she thinks one should live life…was so beautiful.
I really hope you’re able to make it to all 50 states and make a full-length movie out of it. Then, many of the teens who have been touched by cancer would be able to see it, and know that there are others out there like them. And then, my family would be able to see it, as well. I think it could be as wonderful an experience for them as it was for me.
Again, I commend you for turning your great idea into a beautiful film. Thank you and best of luck to you on your nationwide journey.
With sincere appreciation,