CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– A Philipsburg girl’s story about her win in the fight against cancer that has made the big screens, and even won numerous awards, will be getting another one from The Centre Film Festival.
Emily Whitehead’s award-winning documentary Of Medicine and Miracles tells her story of how she made history in the medical world by her being the first pediatric patient ever to get CAR-T cell therapy. Emily was battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that she developed in May 2010, but after treatment, she has been cancer free and is considered to be cured.
On Sunday, Nov. 6, the Centre Film Festival Award Ceremony will take place at The State Theatre located at 130 West College Avenue downtown, according to a press release. The reception begins at 5 p.m. and then at 6 p.m. is the ceremony and admission is free.
The second annual Centre Film Festival Chandler Living Legacy Award will be given to Emily’s parents, Tom and Kari Whitehead.
“This award is such an incredible honor,” says Tom Whitehead, “Our family worked on this film for over eight years with an amazing film team in the hopes that this awareness will help other families have the same outcome that we have had and to help make these new less toxic cancer treatments more globally accessible. We also wanted to show how much support we had during that time from so many people which helped us have that success.”
The award is named after Curt and Stacie Chandler and honors an exemplary Pennsylvania native or Pennsylvania State University alumnus who has made distinguished contributions to the film, television, and media arts and social justice movements. Last year’s winner was Emmy and Peabody Award-winning actor, writer, and producer Keegan-Michael Key.
The Saturday before the ceremony will have a showing of the documentary from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Rowland Theatre at 127 North Front Street, which has a run time of 95 minutes. Tickets can be bought online and are $8, and students are admitted for free. There will be a shuttle that will run from State College to Philipsburg for the showing.
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In 2015, the Whiteheads founded the Emily Whitehead Foundation which helps to give funding for the development of innovative and less toxic treatments, such as immunotherapy, and to support patients and families fighting childhood cancer.
The documentary has already won multiple awards at film festivals from across the country, including Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival. The film first premiered at the Tribeca Festival in New York in June.