The documentary is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The three-part, six-hour documentary will go through the past, present, and future of cancer treatment. Emily’s story will be included in the future of cancer treatment because the T-cell therapy she received—a type of immunotherapy—is widely seen as the way cancer will be treated in the future.
“We had a chance to meet Dr. Mukherjee at a conference we spoke at last fall and shortly after we were contacted by PBS about including Emily’s story in the film,” said Kari Whitehead, Emily’s mother.
The Whitehead family chose to do the documentary because they want Emily to see when she is older that what she went through made a difference in the future of cancer treatment. She was the first child to have her immune system treated to fight cancer.
“We share her story to bring more awareness to pediatric cancer which helps to bring in more funding for pediatric cancer research,” said Whitehead. “Emily went through a lot when she was treated, as do all of the kids being treated for cancer, and it helps us to know that her story is helping others.”
Emily will be filmed over this weekend at THON because it’s her favorite weekend.
“She’s excited to share her THON experience since it’s her favorite weekend of the year! We hope it brings even more awareness to THON because it’s such an amazing experience,” said Whitehead.