San Francisco play stars cancer patients

August 5, 2008 7:44:07 PM PDT
An original play inspired by its performers opens on Wednesday. It's called "Attitude Of Gratitude: Touched By Cancer." The story is both heroic and inspiring, because there is one common thread among its actors, cancer.

It is a celebration filled with a passion for life. People share their stories in a struggle, facing life's biggest challenge.

"Thank you God for giving me another day of life," said an actor and cancer patient.

They have been fighting cancer. Some are in remission, for some it's gone and others battle it daily. The toll can be devastating, but for them survival is not insurmountable.

"We can do the best when we have faith," said Ana Matilde Guandique, an ovarian cancer survivor.

None of them are an actor. They told their stories to director Donald Lacy who then fashioned a script.

"What kept coming to me as I would listen to these over and over, was just how everyone here is so appreciative of life," said Donald E. Lacy, the director.

"When I am here with you I'm happy," Ca'ron Yvette, a cancer survivor.

The play is part of the ARACELI Theater Project. ARACELI stands for Art as a Celebration of Life. It is part of San Francisco General Hospital's cancer awareness program.

"Theatre is a great way to promote education in a way we're turning the table and having the patients be the educators," said Blue Walcer, the founder of the CARE program.

"There is nothing more real than when we're loving each other," said Gerald Austin, a cancer victim's father.

Gerald lost his son to brain cancer two years ago. It still hurts.

"He never complained once while he was sick. That leaves a smile on my face when I think about him, you know," said Gerald.

Their stories are so personal. They are also inspiring, for these performers and the audience it can be life changing.

She endured chemo, a mastectomy, radiation and breast reconstruction.

"When I look at my struggle to live, I don't remember the pain, but when I look at my scars, I remember my journey," said Yvette.

Araceli Theater:
www.caresfgh.org


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