Event’s “Stand Up For Wendy Chioji” celebration raises $2,730 for the LIVESTRONG Foundation
More than 500 people packed Full Sail Live on December 3, 2014, rising to their feet to celebrate Bolder Docs’ first film, Conquering Kilimanjaro, which tells the inspirational story of 16 cancer survivors and advocates’ attempt to summit the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.
Filmmaker Marc Middleton welcomed the sold-out crowd and announced the theme of the night: love.
“Without love for one another, and a love for the journey, our climbing group would have been doomed from the start. We decided, early on, that we’d all make it to the top or none would,” said Middleton. “And that’s a message that’s just as powerful tonight, in this room, as it was at 20,000 feet. We must love each other. We must care for others more than we care for ourselves. We must remember that everyone is facing a difficult road, and be kind.”
Orlando’s Ambassador of Love Donna Dowless echoed the sentiment in her original blessing, offered to the crowd just before the city of Winter Park presented an official proclamation deeming December 3 as Wendy Chioji Day.
Following the film’s Florida premiere, Middleton, Chioji and editor Mike Nanus answered questions about the documentary, and Wendy updated the crowd on her ongoing cancer battle.
Chioji, a breast cancer survivor, is fighting recurrent thymic carcinoma and has just entered a clinical trial for the rare and aggressive form of the disease. She told the crowd that her experience in navigating entry to this treatment — an often frustrating and confusing process — has inspired her to work to bring better resources and support to other cancer patients and survivors, so they can focus on recovery, not on research.
“All of us have a limited amount of time here — it’s too short for most of us,” said Chioji. “It is your responsibility and it should be your great joy to live as big, as out-of-bounds and as adventurously as you possibly can. Be great every day. You only get once chance. Live fearlessly.”
Chioji credits the LIVESTRONG Foundation for not only supporting her cancer journey, but in helping the millions of patients, survivors and families worldwide, and in her name, Bolder Broadcasting, producer of Conquering Kilimanjaro, has made a $2,730 donation to LIVESTRONG. The donation comes from a portion of proceeds raised in ticket and merchandise sales at the Orlando premiere, and 20% of all DVD sales will continue to be donated to LIVESTRONG.
The crowd ended the evening with a standing ovation and rave reviews for the film:
- “I think your very special documentary will inspire people with cancer, as well as those surrounding and supporting them, by giving them the ‘freedom to live strong.’ Just think of all the people you will give new hope to as they struggle with the big “C.”
- “I haven’t cried in a film like that in a long time. It was so incredibly moving and brought me to my knees emotionally. Thank you Marc and crew for such an awesome movie and to the Kili climbers. I am so inspired and touched and moved by every single one of you.”
- “I just don’t know if I can find the words to express how moved I was last night seeing the turnout AND the documentary. Every bit of it was extraordinary and inspirational.”
More information about the premiere, including additional media coverage from the evening, is available at http://www.conqueringkilimanjaro.com/orlando-florida-premiere/.