My journey on this project was intensely personal. Around the same time I started the film, my younger brother David was diagnosed with a rare and virulent form of cancer. My research into the Herceptin story and my immersion into the world of biotechnology coincided with David's courageous battle against the disease. During the course of his treatment, which included participating in multiple clinical trials, David kept a journal in the form of a blog. He would sign off each entry with the words "Plow on." The film was finished on what would have been his 37th birthday, October 16, 2009. As awful as it was to watch David battle and suffer from the disease, it gave me great courage and comfort witnessing the people who contributed to this project and who remain on the front lines in the battle against cancer. I am humbled by their devotion, intelligence, creativity and determination. There were many times I wanted to hug and cheer for the people I met; their fortitude and perseverance was a rallying cry I took to heart. The stories that people shared with me, on camera and off, provided a life affirming perspective that I never imagined possible. I am profoundly grateful to each person who generously gave their time, honestly and bravely sharing their experience and expertise with me. It was clear that each gave so much of themselves to what would ultimately become Herceptin. This film belongs to them.
It was a privilege and honor for me to make this film; I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness such science in action. This film allowed me to discover that science is a creative pursuit as well as a technical one; that science is beautiful and can be accessible; and that anyone, at any time, might have the idea that could one day save lives.
I made this film in David's spirit, honoring both his journey and that of countless others. I hope this film will encourage those on the frontlines in the battle against cancer to continue their imperative and life sustaining work; to search for their strength and power to make the difference.
- Plow On
March 23, 2010