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Documentary ‘Not As I Pictured’ Chronicles Filmmaker’s Personal Cancer Story

Article date: August 29, 2011

News of a cancer diagnosis triggers a variety of coping responses in people. When John Kaplan found out at age 48 that he had a rare form of lymphoma, he made a documentary about his treatment and recovery. Kaplan is a professor at the University of Florida and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, as well as an award-winning documentary filmmaker. He’s also a husband and father of two young children.

The feature-length film, Not As I Pictured, is now airing on PBS stations nationwide. It’s an inspiring and upbeat look at how Kaplan’s family, doctors, friends, and even Mother Theresa and a famous rock star helped him through his treatments and into remission. He says he directed the film as a way to help patients, caregivers and survivors. The American Cancer Society was one of the underwriters of the film.

“During my treatment, we received so much unexpected help along the way, often from strangers,” he says. “In sharing our family’s story, I’m determined to give some of that kindness back.” 

Through the film’s Web site, Kaplan has given away 3,500 free DVD copies to people affected by cancer. His goal is to give away 10,000.

Kaplan presents the film and shares his motivational story at oncology conferences, hospitals, and support centers around the country. He is a proponent of a movement called “Medical Humanism,” which seeks to understand the patient as a person, focusing on individual values, goals, and preferences with respect to clinical decisions.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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