As most of you know, a few years ago I wrote a story about my friends shaving my head the night before my first chemotherapy infusion. I was 25 years old and had just been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. That night was a major turning point for me. It was the first time that I began to process the weight and magnitude of what I was about to face, of what was happening to me – and shaving my head made me feel fierce, when up until that point, I had been too filled with fear to feel much else.
About a year and a half ago, director Kerith Lemon contacted me and suggested that we (well, she) adapt the story into a short film. I thought about it for about a second before enthusiastically agreeing. A film? um…..YES PLEASE!!!!
The short film, bare, is now made and out in the world, and I couldn’t be prouder of it. Kerith did a phenomenal job capturing the scene, the empowering tone of the night, the beauty in the pain. But she also captured the honesty of that night. The film isn’t a documentary, it is inspired by my story, which to me makes what she achieved even more impressive.
Many of you might have already seen the film online, because we chose to put it up for free so that it could reach and help as many people as possible. But, trust me, it is a WAY different experience to see it on a big screen. SO, come see it on the big screen on Feb 3 in Santa Cruz!! The Feb 3 event will be 2:30pm-3:45pm at the Resource Center for Nonviolence (612 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, California 95060). We will start by screening the film (12 min long), followed by a panel discussion on cancer in young adults, and an audience Q and A. Young adults are an underserved community when it comes to oncology, and we have some amazing panelists to discuss the relevant issues. Panelists include:
Lauren Kutting: one of my real life friends who helped shave my head. In Lauren’s own words: “Becky and I are childhood friends who grew up horse-vaulting together. I’m currently a mother of 3 and business owner (Life in Play). More personally, I’m a BRCA1 gene mutation carrier.”
Rosemary Milich, Licensed Clinical Social Worker has been with the Santa Cruz PAMF Cancer Care Center since October 2012 which was her introduction to Oncology. Before that she worked in an urban hospital setting, with vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities, providing therapy to adults and children and in a non-profit. Working in oncology has been very special with the patients she meets and the relationships built over the years of care and treatment. Starting a support group for young adults as requested by a patient two years ago was an opportunity she’s forever grateful for as she’s witnessed relationship grow, gallons of tears spill but tons of hours of laughter build bonds.
Mia Thorn, one of my amazing oncology nurses. “I grew up in Santa Cruz. Studied nursing at Cabrillo, graduated in 2011 with knowledge that I wanted to go straight into Oncology. I started working at Central Coast Oncology and Hematology right out of nursing school. As soon as I helped my first patient I knew nursing was my place in this world, as soon as I sat and spoke with someone that was going through something as challenging as cancer I knew it was my niche. I am awe inspired most days of the week. I see people at their best/worst. People with disease have an amazing ability to prioritize life which is so wonderfully infectious. I learn and relearn on a daily basis to not take life for granted. You can see someone in the hardest of hard places in life say that it could always be worse and pray for their friend getting chemo. It’s absolute magic.”
Lisa Schofield, former METAvivor board member.
Me! Co-writer of and inspiration for bare, writer, and stage 4 breast cancer patient and advocate. I wrote the true story that inspired this film. Together with director Kerith Lemon, I helped adapt my story into this short film in the hopes of creating something empowering for those going through cancer and to help patients feel less alone.
Moderated by April Stearns, founder and editor of WILDFIRE. April has also been helping me organize this event from the get go, and she has been amazing. Can’t thank her enough. This never would have come together without her!
Feb 3, the day of this event, is the day before World Cancer Day – a day dedicated to promoting the awareness, prevention, and treatment of cancer. What better way to honor such a day than to support a metastatic breast cancer fundraiser?
The event is free (and please do feel free to come if finances are an issue, we will be more than happy to share the film and event with you regardless), but we will also be asking for donations. All donations will benefit METAvivor, which funds stage 4 metastatic breast cancer research – a severely underfunded subsect of the breast cancer community. Donations can be made by check (to METAvivor), cash, or credit cards at the event.
Please RSVP at SCbarescreening@gmail.com if you know that you plan to be there (or you can just show up – we’ll have space for you!).
Please join us! It is sure to be a great event and a thought-provoking conversation. Come see the film, have a light beverage, get a cool tassel, and support bare, METAvivor, and all MBC patients.
Please check the FB page (link here) for more information.