by Michelle Melvin, Practice Liaison with Shady Grove Fertility
Movies. They are part of our American culture. Some make you laugh, some make you cry, and others leave you with the feeling of wanting more. The movie premier that Dr. Kimberly Moon and I attended last night did all of the above for us as well as the hundreds of others in the AFI theatre in Silver Spring. Steven Bernstein, Hollywood cinematographer who directed this film with his son, surprisingly greeted us at the door to prepare us for what to expect. The sold-out screening of this new film “Decoding Annie Parker,” which is causing a lot of buzz and positive interest in the DC community, exceeded our expectations – but it goes even beyond the cinema. It’s causing those audience members such as myself to want to make a difference.
The movie is a feature film based on the real lives of two remarkable women, separated by thousands of miles but somehow their lives gradually intertwine with a life changing reckoning. It stars Helen Hunt as American geneticist, Dr. Mary Claire King, who discovers the BRCA genes linked to a higher incidence of breast and ovarian cancers. Samantha Morton portrays Annie Parker, a Canadian woman who was also searching for answers to why cancer was ravaging her family. She even won Best Actress for her portrayal at the Seattle International Film Festival. This movie captivated viewers, like myself and others nationwide, to want to share it with everyone. Apparently there’s a new term for these types of films, called filmanthropy.
Filmanthropy is a new model for socially and politically based films to establish an audience and give back to the people and organizations that inspired them. Inspiration for us to attend this unforgettable night was because of FORCE, the only national non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. FORCE helps to raise public awareness for research, tests, patient/family support, and the resources to allow women and men make informed choices about risk factors. Their local outreach efforts in DC have positively impacted many of our own patients, friends and family because of their mission to empower and educate.
In light of it being hereditary breast and ovarian cancer week, I encourage anyone who has a friend, coworker, neighbor, cousin, sister, or mother afflicted with this terrible disease to go to the FORCE website (www.facingourrisk.org) and read about the simple way(s) that can possibly save you or a loved one’s life. Then, find out where the next viewing is of the remarkable movie and take all of those ladies with you for an enjoyable girls night out!
Watch the trailer for Decoding Annie Parker
If you would like to discuss your fertility preservation options or to schedule an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.