CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — It’s been nearly ten years since Philipsburg’s Emily Whitehead survived her childhood cancer after receiving a highly experimental treatment. Now, her remarkable story will be shared on the silver screen in a new documentary premiering in New York City.
It’s called “Of Medicine and Miracles” and highlights Emily’s journey pioneering CAR T-Cell therapy.
“It’s just like reliving it, it really is,” said Tom Whitehead, Emily’s father and president and co-founder of the Emily Whitehead Foundation. “Seems like it just happened yesterday even though it was ten years ago.”
Watching his daughter’s battle projected on the big screen, Tom said he’s reminded of the strength and positivity from loved ones and the Philipsburg community.
“A theme in the film is also going to be to show how, you know, a small community can come together and help us change the world,” said Tom.
The documentary includes cell phone footage the Whiteheads took and video from a film crew who was there during Emily T-cell treatment.
“At the time, I didn’t know how else to look at it, I said, you know, my daughter is going to change the world so I said, yes you can follow us with a camera,” said Tom.
Directed by Academy Award Winner Ross Kauffman, the documentary will premiere this June at the Tribeca Film Festival, followed by a hometown screening in Philipsburg.
“I tell people everywhere I go, you know that I’m proud of where we live and our families and friends and community that helped us are a part of this, and that’s why we want to bring the film here to Philipsburg on July 14th at The Rowland Theatre,” said Tom.
“Emily’s story is just amazing,” said Rebecca Inlow, a board member at The Rowland Theatre. “There is nobody I think that won’t be touched by her story, so we are very much looking forward to it on July 14th.”
The Whitehead family hopes people leave the theatre feeling inspired.
“Anybody can change the world if you believe that you can do that,” said Tom.
Emily’s story is far from it’s closing credits and (spoiler alert) one major scene is coming up in May.
“They’re gonna come out on May 10 here, on her ten-year cancer-free anniversary, and actually call it a cure, a new cure for cancer, not just a cure for her, but a new cure for cancer,” said Tom.