A unique, West Virginia University student and faculty produced documentary, which chronicles a year in the lives of five people facing and fighting cancer, will air on West Virginia Public Broadcasting television stations (West Virginia PBS ) at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11.
“Cancer Stories: Lessons in Love, Loss and Hope”is an hour long documentary reported and shot almost entirely by journalism students at the WVU Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism.
For a year and half, the students followed patients treated at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The students were given complete access to videotape doctor’s appointments, treatmentseven surgeries. The patients opened their homes and their hearts to the students, sharing their most difficult and intimate experiences.
“The students learned a lot about what’s involved in putting together an hour long documentary, but they also learned a lot about themselves,”said Executive Producer and Associate Professor Maryanne Reed.”Each student connected with their patient on an emotional level and witnessed first hand the strength, resilience, bravery and humor of people struggling to beat their disease.”
Reed and SOJ graduate student and instructor Clint Wilhelm produced the film, which was edited by West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s John Nakashima, an Emmy award winning producer. West Virginia Public Broadcasting also served as a partner in the production of the film.
“It’s been such a complete experience, professionally and emotionally,”said Sally Ann Cruikshank, a broadcast student who worked on the project until graduating in May 2003.”With classwork you go and do it, and you don’t think about it again. I will most certainly think about this experience the rest of my life.”
The documentary is a part of a special School of Journalism project conducted in partnership with the Cancer Center.
“This project has helped to make the physicians more aware of the many dimensions of patient care that determine whether or not treatment will be successful or not successful,”said Dr. Eddie Reed, director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.
“It has made the physicians more aware of the important issues that go beyond the administration of medications or the administration of certain treatments,”he said.
The project also includes a student written book edited by SOJ Assistant Professor John Temple that will be published by West Virginia University Press in fall 2004.