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A PERSONAL STORY ABOUT PEDIATRIC CANCER, THE FAMILIES IT AFFECTS, AND HOW OVERLOOKED AND UNDERFUNDED IT TRULY IS.

What is Be Brave, Be Strong?

     The purpose of this film is simple:  1. Help people understand the struggles of pediatric cancer by showing the fight real families go through every day.  2.  Bring to light the underfunding of pediatric cancer research and inspire others to lend a helping hand.

     We want to tell the story of FIVE different families and their unique experiences and struggles with pediatric cancer.  So far we have one family on board and it hits closer to home for us than you know.  We believe that once funding is complete the other families we need will be inspired by your help to share their stories to help bring awareness to this horrible illness.

Update:

Just had another family confirm that they'd be able to share their story for our documentary; a 17year old girl with Leukemia and her 23 year old brother who was diagnosed last week. This breaks our heart, and drives us forward to help find a cure. Also, we have been receiving messages from other families that would like to participate and will be updating you on them soon!

Brooks' Story

     In May of 2012 I received a phone call from my brother Cody after taking his son Brooks to the doctor to receive an MRI days before his 4th birthday.  He told me that Brooks was diagnosed with a Pylocytic Astrocytoma(a benign brain tumor) lodged in his spinal chord.  Since diagnosis he has had surgery to remove part of the tumor, and is currently undergoing chemo-therapy to fight what was left behind.

Brooks playing around before chemo.
Brooks playing around before chemo.

     Before this our family was aware that pediatric cancer existed, but we had no idea the reality of it all.  Along the way my Brother and his wife, Kari, have met many other families with incredible stories, and we hope to have some of those families participate in this project with us.

A Word From The Russell Family:

     Cody Russell (Brooks' father) - In May of 2012 my four year old son, Brooks, was diagnosed with a Pylocytic Astrocytoma(a benign tumor) lodged in his spinal chord. Since diagnosis he has had surgery to remove part of the tumor, and currently is undergoing chemo therapy to fight what was left behind. Because of his surgery and chemo he also has to go to physical and occupational therapy twice a week to battle the side effects.

Here is an interview with Cody:

The Funding Is Not Enough

    (All factual information provided by St. Baldricks Foundation)

     As of last year, out of the entire U.S Federal budget for cancer research, only 3% went to the combined 12 majors categories of pediatric cancer.  Where as for individual categories of cancer such as breast and prostate cancer the numbers where much larger, such as 12% and 7%.  "Curing childhood cancer is the equivalent of curing breast cancer in terms of productive life years saved." –Dr. Eugenie Kleinerman, head of the division of pediatrics at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

     Yes, it is true that more adults than kids get cancer. That's why governments and foundations fund more research for adult cancers—and we're all for finding cures for adults, but when you look closer you will see that the average number of years of life lost to cancer for adults is 15, and the average age of diagnosis is 67 years old; while the average number of years of life lost to cancer for children is 71, because the average age of diagnosis is 6 years old!  So why has it become the least funded?  That is what this documentary is about.

The following image is courtesy of Alex's Lemonade Stand: Foundation for Childhood Cancer

Pediatric Cancer Infographic
Pediatric Cancer Infographic

Listed below is the links to several sources about pediatric cancer and ways you can help:

St. Baldricks - Filling The Funding Gap

Congressional Budget Cuts Threaten Childhood Cancer Research

Facts About Childhood Cancer

Alex's Lemonade Stand: Foundation For Childhood Cancer

An Incredible Cause

     Also, since Brooks' journey started a year ago, Cody has started his own non-profit clothing company to help families of pediatric cancer raise money for their own medical bills.  The Incredible Clothing Company works with these families to make custom t-shirts for each child of cancer that matches their personality and personal journey.  The families then invite friends and family to support them by purchasing the t-shirts to help raise money. To learn more about The Incredible Clothing Company visit:

The Incredible For Kids Website

or like them on Facebook.

Why We Need You!!!

     We need your help with funding this project so we can produce this movie in the most professional aspect and take it all around the country, and hopefully around the world, to help those who are unaware understand the true struggles of pediatric cancer and bring light to its need for research funding.  The more people we reach with what we think will be an incredible story, the more support we have behind increasing funding for childhood cancer research, and if the research is increased, then that improves every chance of extending life for these children and finding a cure.

After The Goal

     After the initial goal is met, we are still going to need more help!  By continuing to give further we will be able to improve the quality of our documentary and be able to promote the film further by entering it into even more festivals all over the world. So once we get close to that initial goal we will post our stretch goals and additional rewards!!!

Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!!!

Examples of Reward Items:

Official Reward
Official Reward

Other Pledge Reward Images Coming Soon!!!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Potentially this film has all the risks you would expect. Our main risks would involve time constraints for editing, being able to get everything we need as far as footage goes, finding families willing to have an openness about their struggle, and obviously funding the project.

Nonetheless, we feel that once the project is funded, there will be very little to stand in our way of creating an amazingly memorable experience and we believe the families of pediatric cancer will jump on board with us. The only other risks after filming is done would be once we submit our films to the festivals. There is an intense acceptance process, but we know with our persistence and determination we will be able to show this film to almost any festival we enter it into, and it will not be without your help.

FAQ

  • Your pledges will go towards helping us create the film, by giving us the ability to purchase and/or rent new equipment and giving us the means to travel far distances if necessary to film families that will be apart of what we are doing. It will also help us fulfill rewards such as the t-shirts, DVDs, and more. Also, your pledges will help us make copies of the documentary, and pay the application fees for each film festival we send the film to and the required materials we must send them.

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Funding period

- (30 days)