Category Archives: C – A Celebration of Life

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Check it Out ! We’ve Just Completed a New Trailer for C – A Celebration of Life

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Tomorrow’s the Day !

DVD Cover for Website

Well it’s finally arrived, the day that the movie will be available to the public. It’s been a long time coming, but hopefully, it will do the job that was intended to do, and that is to help people. If you have a friend or a loved one that has just received a cancer diagnosis, please send them our way. There are 12 amazing cancer survivors that tell the story of the cancer journey from diagnosis through survivorship, and show us that there can be a rich and fulfilling life after the fight. The film will be available in DVD and Blu-Ray starting tomorrow, and will be available for streaming on the 22nd.

We are also making the movie available at no charge for events and meetings. Please contact if you have a group that would benefit from seeing the film.

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C – A Celebration of Life – The Cancer Journey and Beyond


Seven years ago, the most important person in my life was diagnosed with cancer. The doctor was very kind and patient as he explained the plan of attack, which included chemo and radiation together, and then surgery. At that time, we had only a vague idea of what that meant, but hearing the word chemotherapy was terrifying. He gave us a few brochures on what the potential side effects were, and explained briefly that there were medications that could possibly help with some of them, and that was it. I walked out of the office thinking ” That’s all the information we get ?, I really don’t have a clue what’s ahead. ”
As the first few weeks rolled by, I spoke with others going through treatment, and the care providers that were administering them, and it seemed like there needed to be something for newly diagnosed patients and their families to help them understand the cancer journey, and to have hope that they would survive it all. At that moment, an idea was born: to create a movie that covered the cancer experience from diagnosis through survivorship. A simple basic look at what that road is, and that in many cases, that road leads to a richer, and more meaningful life.
Who better than to explain the cancer journey, than those who had gone through it, and not only survived, but thrived. So that’s where it began, the search to find survivors that were willing to share their story to help others. It was important that it included all different age groups, ethnicities, and types of cancer, so that hopefully there would be something that would enable each viewer to feel connected. This portion of the process was life’s greatest gift to me, to spend a little time with these amazing individuals, and to be able to share their incredible stories. I traveled across the US, attended special events, and heard so many wonderful accounts of hope, love, strength, courage, and acceptance. Almost all of the cancer patients and survivors I spoke with, had an inner peace and joy, that you don’t normally see in people. They understood what is really important in life, and they had learned to treasure each day and each experience.

After what seems a lifetime, the film is ready to get out there, and hopefully do the job it was intended to do. I’m asking for help with this part. I’m offering it to groups and organizations at no charge to show at meetings and events. If you know of anyone that would have an interest, I can send them a Vimeo link and password to view the film. I’m also wanting to get it into the hands of the first line care givers so that it can be used as a tool to help the newly diagnosed and their families understand the cancer journey that lies ahead. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Finally, just a couple of quick notes.
My dearest Don, who was the instrument for this project, is doing fabulous ! All of the featured survivors are still living life to the fullest, except Saramae, who passed form natural causes 2 months before her 108th birthday. She died cancer free.
I love this story: there was a cancer patient we met during Don’s chemo hookup that was considered terminal and would remain on chemo through the balance of her life. She had the most beautiful smile and peaceful countenance. She said ” Everyday I live, is another day closer to the cure. ” God Bless her.
My greatest lesson in all of this is: Life is truly what you make it, and what may be considered terrifying or tragic, can actually be life’s gifts wrapped in very ugly packages.

Never let an opportunity go by when you can tell someone you care.
Love to all.

Here is a link to the trailer
It’s available in DVD, Blu-Ray, and Streaming, with a portion of the proceeds going to cancer research.

For more information of the film and the survivors, please visit our website A Celebration of Life,C A Celebration of Life,Celebration of Life, A Celebration of Life,Mission Positive Films,cancer stories,cancer survival,cancer documentaries,survival documentaries, cancer survival documentaries,surviving cancer documentaries, inspirational cancer stories, surviver stories, cancer survivor stories,cancer survivors, cancer journey

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We’re Back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

C – A Celebration of Life Trailer

Hello Everyone !

We’re finally back on the air and ” C – A Celebration of Life ” has been completed. The link is to the general trailer for the film. In the next few weeks, you’ll also see individual trailers for each of the featured survivors. We were also truly blessed in getting an interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu about his cancer experience, and an excerpt is included in the film, Yeah.

We have submitted to a number of film festivals across the country in hopes that we can get the film out to as many folks as possible. Remember, this movie is designed to help newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families with the fear of the diagnosis, and features 14 incredible cancer survivors, in all different age groups, with different ethnicities and cancers.

Hopefully, we have done justice to their amazing stories of courage, strength,faith and survival.

All the Best,


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The Wonders of the Holiday Season

So many things to be thankful for, and so many experiences to reflect on. I have truly believed throughout my life that each day is to be treasured and each moment savoured. Though as you all know, that can be a very hard thing to do when navigating through every day life.  Sometimes life gives us a subtle nudge, and sometimes a good hard kick to remind us about the importance of living life to the fullest. Well let me tell you, this year has been the year that life apparently felt I needed a number of the not so subtle reminders, and even though my back end is bruised, I’m oh so grateful for those kicks.

In January, I met and filmed Josh Sundquist, that young powerhouse, that had turned what would put most folks over the edge, into a way of showing what overcoming adversity really means, and Russell Jim, a man that has a deeper love of the land and his people than I could have ever imagined was possible.

In February, I lost the dearest person in my life to cancer, and though there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her more than I can almost bear, I can’t believe how lucky I was to have had her in my life. She was my mother, my friend, my confident and my biggest supporter, and though she lost her battle, she never lost herself.

In May, I met the wonderful and loving Venus Gines, who is devoting all of her time, energy, money and heart into giving those that are unable to afford medical care a chance at finding and beating the most frightening disease of our time. Through her effort on that day in spring, over a thousand women were treated to free cancer screenings and exams.

In June, there was Bob, that amazing ninety year young tennis pro who is still competing in tournaments, Barbara, who at 79 is in final preparation for her adventure to the South Pole, and two thousand purple shirts making their way down Pennsylvania Ave. to show that Pancreatic Cancer can and will be beat.

In September, I finally met up with Barbie McQueen and through laughter and tears got a glimpse of her wonderful and heartbreaking time with Steve. They thought they had a few years to wage the fight against Mesothelioma, but ended up with only a few months. As you can only imagine, she is a great believer in the importance of now.

In October and November, I was able to spend more time with the international team of doctors and researchers that are on the leading edge of finding the causes and eventually the prevention and the cure of Mesothelioma and other related diseases. Their brilliance and dedication will change a great many things in the medical field of tomorrow.

Wow ! What a year and what amazing people occupy this planet of ours. Whether we’re saving the world or driving a child to their soccer game, each act of love makes life that much better. Each smile, laugh, or word of encouragement has an impact. Thank you all so much for taking the time to make comments on the posts. Some of you have asked if you can share the things you read here that touch you. Yes, absolutely, please do. Some of you have asked if you can post on the blog. Again, yes, absolutely if it’s in keeping with our theme of inspiring, motivating and educating. Write it as a comment, and if it indeed fits the theme, we’ll translate it to a post.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and please take the time to enjoy your life.

All the Best, Heather

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Wow, Can you believe it’s already October ?

Where has the year gone ? So many wonderful people have passed through the camera lenses this year, and brought such inspiration in their path. In a world that sometimes seems to have become so harsh and indifferent, they are like shining beacons of the true spirit of mankind. I’m so grateful to have been able to spend time with them and share a bit of the work they are so dedicated to doing. I’ve mentioned a bit of it in this blogsite, but wish there was time to really expand on their amazing lives. Anyway, here’s a couple more updates in the MPF film family.

Leilani Karasaki, the amazing oncology nurse that appears in our upcoming documentary ” C – A Celebration of Life ” has added another prestigious award to her already impressive list. She has just been honored with the Nurse of Hope award given by the Oncology Nursing Society – Hawaii Chapter. Congratulations Leilani, you certainly deserve it !

Funny lady Kathy Buckley is at it again. She’s on another crusade to raise money for one of her favorite charities, ” No Limits “, an organization dedicated to helping children with hearing disabilities. They are having an Aloha Walk-A-Thon on October 18th in Los Angeles, California that promises to be a bundle of fun. Great food, entertainment and prizes. If you happen to be in the area, check it out. All the information is available on their website,

The MPF cameras headed to Idaho a couple of weeks ago to meet Barbara McQueen, and hear about her experience dealing with Mesothelioma, the disease that took her husband Steve McQueen at much too early an age. She will be appearing in our upcoming documentary ” The Erionite Connection ” about the research being done to find the cause and hopefully the cure to that devasting disease. What a wonderful and funny lady she is, and what fun it was to see all the great memorabilia she has from their time together. I asked her what advice she had for others that are facing great challenges, and though she doesn’t believe in giving that kind of advice, her attitude is to live each day as largely and completely as you possibly can. Thank you Barbie, for allowing us into your home. It was a blast !

Remember, celebrate each day, and never forget to take the time to tell someone you care.
All the Best,
Heather Continue reading Wow, Can you believe it’s already October ?

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Thank You’s & More Good News !

Hey Folks,
Sorry it’s been a while since the last post, but I come bearing good news. First, THANK YOU !!!!!! to all the wonderful people that have taken the time to comment on the blog. It’s wonderful to hear from you, and to those who have offered to share information, yes, please, absolutely, anything you’d like to share that fits our intent to inspire, motivate and educate is very appreciated.
OK, now here comes the news.

Paul Sibley, one of the amazing cancer survivors that is featured in our upcoming documentary ” C – A Celebration of Life ” and a contributor to the blog, welcomed his second son Tristan Charles Sibley into the world on August the 23rd. Congratulations to Paul and his beautiful wife Courtney. It was a hard road, but what an amazing bundle of joy they have to share their lives.

Ida Goeckel is at it again. For the eighth consecutive year, she’s brought together a power packed lineup of musicians in the Buffalo area to raise money for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Breast Care and Resource Center. The concert is on October 17th at Macaroon’s Nite Club in Depew New York. If you’re in the area, you’ve got to check it out, there’s not only going to be great music, but a silent auction on a raffle. If you need more information, you can visit her page at

Ms. Barbara Hillary, that amazing 79 year old powerhouse and cancer survivor, is actively raising funds to reach her next goal, the South Pole. Well it seems that some very important folks are recognizing what a special lady she is and are putting their money where their mouth is. Rolex has become one of her special sponsors. Way to go Barbara !

There’s power in purple. Last June, the Mission Possible Films team took to the road and landed in our nations capital to meet up with Anne Shimabukura for the first annual Pancreatic Cancer fundraising event ” PurpleStride “. We got a chance to film about 2000 cancer survivors and supporters walking down Pennsylvania Avenue to raise money and awareness in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer. Well come to find out, they raised over $ 380,000.00 with that 5K event. Wow !

And finally from the Mission Possible Film studios, we’re on the road again to Sun Valley Idaho to meet up with Barbie McQueen, the widow of the legendary Steve McQueen. Steve’s life was cut short from Mesothelioma, the subject of our working project ” The Erionite Connection ” . She is a celebrated photographer in her own right, and has a new book out of photographs she took of Steve during their life together.

Well that’s it for now, and again thank you for taking the time to check in. Remember, take care of yourselves, and enjoy the beauty of life.
All the Best,

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Meet Leilani

Hello Everyone,
Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.
I can finally introduce you to Leilani Grippin Karasaki R.N., B.S.N., an acute-care oncology nurse at Queens Medical Center, and one of the earlier members of our Celebration family. It took a bit to get a picture of her, it seems even though she’s absolutely gorgeous, she’s quite camera shy, but she is now posted on the website. Leilani is known throughout Hawaii as an exceptional caregiver, and in December was named by the Star-Bulletin as one of Hawaii’s ” Ten Who Made a Difference “, in recognition of people who noticeably helped bring change to Hawaii or contributed in outstanding ways. She is one of the kindest and most caring individuals you could ever meet, and will give the film a wonderful insight into cancer from the caregivers perspective. She shared something very interesting with me that I’d like to pass on. While a patient is undergoing treatment, many of the doctors, nurses, and technicians get very emotionally connected, but once the treatments are over and the patient walks out the door, they very seldom know how their lives turned out. They don’t get to see the joy of life after cancer, they just hope. So you wonderful survivors remember, from time to time, pick up the phone or drop a note to the special people that were there for you during your fight, and let them know how great you’re doing. Believe me, it will mean the world to them.
All the Best,
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Principal Filming is Now Complete. Yeah!

Hello Everyone,
Happy July !
Exciting news, the principal filming for ” C – A Celebration of Life ” has been completed. Yeah !!!!!!!!!!!!!
May and June were incredible months for shooting quite a few members of our film family. In May, I was able to attend and film Venus’s Houston Dia de la Mujer Latina Festival where she and her team provided paps and breast exams for 1000 women that otherwise would not have that opportunity. Her goal is to save lives, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Luisa welcomed me to her very special graduation in Tucson, and Kathy kept me laughing hysterically in LA.
In June, Don joined me for ( 8 ) days, ( 3 ) cities and ( 4 ) amazing survivors. We started in Hartford, Conneticut where Mack Dryden was the Keynote Speaker for over a thousand cancer survivors and supporters. He was absolutely hilarious, heartwarming and inspiring for a good 45 minutes. What a joy to watch him entertain so many special people. The event was put on by the Hartford Hospital Cancer Center, a truly 
wonderful group of caregivers. That hospital is extremely forward thinking and progressive in cancer treatment, and they understand the importance of treating both the mind and body. They say they are in
” The Business of Hope “. That was something that has really stuck with me.
From there it was on to New York to meet the one and only Barbara Hillary. She just turned 79 just a couple of weeks ago, but let me tell you, if I told you she was pushing 65, you still wouldn’t believe me. She’s gorgeous, sharp as a tack, and side splittingly funny. She treated us to a guided tour through Harlem, which is where she spent a good deal of her childhood, but she seemed as surprised as we were how upscale that area has become. She joked that she used to see white folks run through Harlem ( quickly and without a smile ), and now they run through in jogging shorts.
The next day, we were lucky enough to spend a monumental day with our other favorite New Yorker, Bob Ryland and his lovely wife Nancy. The 16th was Bob’s 90th birthday, and like Barbara, he’s found the fountain of youth. I tried to get him to tell me where it was, but he just gave me that great smile of his and shook his head. We were able to film Bob playing tennis, the game he’s loved almost the whole of his life, and riding the scooter board that he uses to get from his apartment to the courts just about every day. My favorite part though was just getting to hear his stories. Bob has lived an incredible life, some of it heartbreaking, but through it all he has kept the positive attitude that has become his trademark.
Finally, we hit our nations capital to meet our Pancreatic Cancer survivor Anne, her wonderful husband John, and their two beautiful and very precocious daughters. Anne told us they were 7 and 8, but after spending some time with them, both Don and I are convinced they are just short teenagers. The supposedly 7 year old showed a great interest in the camera, and how everything worked. It wouldn’t surprise me if we have a female Spielberg in the making. Anne’s been very involved in raising money and awareness for the deadly cancer that she beat back, and they had the first Washington DC walk for the cause. To see over 1700 purple
T- Shirts walking down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the capital was truly a site to behold. I still get goose bumps just thinking about it ( In Hawaii we call it chicken skin ). Let me take a moment to mention another Pancreatic Cancer survivor Eileen, whom we met the day of the walk. She’s had a tough fight, but her spirit cannot and will not be denied.
Lastly, after some very busy weeks, I finally made it to my PO Box and had a lovely surprise waiting. I received a video of Tommy D’s session. Remember Tommy is the one that’s providing the toe tappin part of the movies music, so I can’t wait to see what he sent. I’ll let you know how great it is on the next update.
So now we’re down to the editing. Thank you all again for sharing your time and your stories. It has been one of the best experiences of my life.
All the Best,
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