Lymphoma - Andy Whitfield's Biggest Battle

Jul 22, 2013 | Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Lymphoma - Andy Whitfield's Biggest Battle

image by: Gage Skidmore

In my heart, I am convinced that this is all meant to be. I'm supposed to be here right now and I'm open to the journey and the discoveries and adventures of all of this - Andy Whitfield

The star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand was diagnosed with cancer just as he was to begin shooting the second season of his popular TV show.  Initially Whitfield's doctors were very optimistic because they had caught the cancer early and he was otherwise very healthy. 

Within a few days Whitfield began chemotherapy and two months later he was told he was cancer-free however; the cancer came back later that year and sadly, he passed away on September 11, 2011 at the age of 39. 

Filming for Be Here Now began immediately after Whitfield's diagnosis.  It's an open and honest look into the life of a man dealing with a life and death situation.  The cameras follow him while he endures chemotherapy; multiple doctors' visits, shaves his head, and researches alternative medicines and treatments. 

Whitfield held nothing back, and the film shows him at his best - as he plays with his children or mugs for the camera - and in his darkest moments - where he admits he's terrified, scared, and angry.

The film also shows the effects cancer has on the family.  There are scenes of Whitfield and his wife, Vashti, discussing his illness with their two young children and later there are scenes of them decorating their last Christmas tree together.  But, perhaps the most powerful moments are those that show Whitfield's vulnerable side as he is filmed talking about his family with tears rolling down his face. 

As difficult as his situation was, Whitfield never felt sorry for himself or said "why me?"  In fact, in one of his last recorded moments he says, "Be Here Now is all about being present and not fearing what you don't know.  In my heart, I am convinced that this is all meant to be.  I'm supposed to be here right now and I'm open to the journey and the discoveries and adventures of all of this." 

Whitfield's friends and family are determined to finish the documentary.   Together, they started the Be Here Now campaign to raise money to help make a dying man's wish come true. 

Andy Whitfield's upcoming documentary is more than a movie, it's a reminder.  It's a reminder to cherish every moment; it's a reminder to get your yearly check-up; it's a reminder that you cannot take your health or the health of those you love for granted, and it's a reminder to live in the moment because you don't know how many moments you have.

As of now, Be Here Now has not been released.  Andy Whitfield's documentary isn't just a reminder, it's a gift; and it should be finished and seen by everyone. This project successfully raised its funding goal on July 23.

Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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