US teenager’s cancer battle spotlighted in documentary

Cayman childhood cancer survivors feature in a 2017 photo for Hannah's Heroes. Back row from left, Tayden Grant and Charli Foster; front row, Beau Shields, Annabelle Reading, Hannah Meeson and Mimi Ebanks.

“Until 20,” the inspiring story of a teenage cancer patient working to save others, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at Camana Bay Cinema. The free screening is being sponsored by Dart in conjunction with the local cancer charity Hannah’s Heroes.

The documentary film tells the story of James Arthur Ragan from Texas, a pediatric cancer patient and promising golfer, who was diagnosed with a rare cancer at age 13. Ragan took action, creating the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Foundation, which has raised more than $3 million to fund research to improve the treatment and survivability of pediatric cancer.

He also allowed a documentary crew to chronicle what turned out to be the last year of his life.

“Until 20,” produced by award-winning journalists and documentary filmmakers Geraldine Moriba and Jamila Paksima, has won the audience award at several film festivals including the Austin Film Festival, Cinequest (San Jose) and Virginia Film Festival.

Gaylene and Nigel Meeson founded Hannah’s Heroes in 2012 when their 4-year-old daughter Hannah was diagnosed with anaplastic medulloblastoma. The charity is connected with St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Since 2013, Hannah’s Heroes has raised more than $1.6 million for childhood cancer research and funded five St. Baldrick’s scholars grants named in Hannah’s honor.

The group’s annual Big Shave fundraiser, which raised $267,000 last year, is scheduled for Sept. 28.

Initially given a 5 percent chance of survival, Hannah recently turned 10 and is cancer free.

The screening of “Until 20” is free, but seating is limited.

For reservations, visit https://www.eventbrite.com and search “Until 20.”

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