PINK AND BLUE AND EMOTIONAL ALL OVER
As October and the month for Breast Cancer Awareness comes to a close, the month of pink now with a little blue, I am filled with so many emotions that my heart, my head and my tear ducts could all explode!!
In the middle of 2013 I remember clearly my first phone conversation with Alan Blassberg of First Prize Productions. Who is this guy and is he “for real”?! He wants to make a documentary about male breast cancer and its genetic diseases? And through his research he couldn’t find much information, and then he found HIS Breast Cancer Awareness. He found us…
We had several phone conversations, from my personal and challenging journey with several breast cancer diagnosis and testing positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation to my brother Harvey’s journey with male breast and prostate cancers, also discovering he too carries the BRCA2 genetic mutation. I explained how our cancers and genetic history began with my mom, Libby who today is 90 and her sister, my Aunt Ruth who celebrated her 100th birthday this weekend along with those who have passed on my maternal side, my grandmother Minnie and my two uncles Herman and Isadore who Harvey is named after. We spoke about how Harvey and I co-founded HIS Breast Cancer because between us we have 5 sons and wanted to help them and other men with awareness and better education.
Alan shared some of his family’s journey with cancer, the people he has lost including his sister Sammy and how his sister Lisa and then he both tested positive with the BRCA genetic mutation. He wanted to learn more about it all, he wanted to help educate others and he wanted to do it all in a documentary- Pink and Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer. My brother and I were hooked, this was also our dream, our passion, the reason we founded our organization and the next 2+ years was an even greater journey!
February 2014, Alan, his assistant Marc Romeo, co-producer and their crew traveled from the west coast to Philadelphia so they could hear, record and chronicle all of our stories. They taped my mom and aunt talking about their journeys with cancer and all the cancer in their family. They heard from us directly our experiences as we relived our diagnosis, treatments, ups and downs and our challenges as survivors, both breast cancer as a woman and as a man and BRCA carriers. They taped my oldest son Sam’s experience as he began his journey with genetic counseling and testing with Dr. Susan Domchek at the Basser Research Center. Sam was ready to start his own family and needed to know if he also carried the mutation as he could possibly pass it on and at 32 years of age, the challenges of cancer he could be at a higher risk for. My emotions from the past, present and into the future were spinning.
This month, October awareness month, ALL the hard work of the past 2+ years came to fruition and the documentary was completed although it’s journey is just beginning! It began with the “pink and blue” carpet premier in Los Angeles. My husband Gary joined Harvey and I along with my nephews Matt and Jameson who live there. After hearing about or ‘talking’ with so many people who helped make this documentary, like the infamous Dr. Kristi Funk of the Pink Lotus Center (Angelina Jolie’s surgeon), Amy Byer Shainman the Executive Producer, Stephanie Swartz (girlfriend and photographer), Dan Abrams and the talented recording artist who contributed to the soundtrack and so many more, it was wonderful to finally meet them all. This was my first set of eyes on the completed film and I was star struck and wowed!