"A Gift of Life" DVD Promotes Colon Cancer Screening

A Gift of Life, a DVD of personal stories about colon cancer screening, has the power to encourage people to get a procedure that can save their lives.

The DVD is the result of a FIVCO Story Telling Project funded by the Center for Disease Control and East Tennessee State University through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The project was undertaken by the Kentucky Cancer Program, Ashland/Boyd Co. Health Dept. and ACTC to address the CDC's concern about the high cancer rates in Appalachia.

Story circles held in the five FIVCO counties resulted in 31 stories about the pros and cons of having a colonoscopy, a screening test for colorectal cancer. Many of the people were cancer survivors who wanted people to know how important a screening was and how it had saved their life.

Excerpts of the exact words of the story tellers were read by volunteer actors, creating a collage of voices telling a regional story. The background music by Roger Smith, a resident of Argillite in Greenup County, includes The Waltz of the Goldenrod and "Too Much to Live For." Both songs can be found on his CD- Roger Smith, My life in Song. Smith was also an actor in the DVD.

The production team included: project manager Becky Simpson, Cancer Control Specialist with the Kentucky Cancer Program; producer Kristy Bolen, Epidemiologist with the Ashland/Boyd County Health Dept; lead scriptwriter and actor Mary Shortridge, ACTC Associate Professor of Communication; production technician and actor Roger Hagley, ACTC Interactive TV Facilitator; and fiscal agent Sarah Diamond Burroway, ACTC Director of Grants and Contracts.

Other actors included Lydia Smith from Argillite, Jimmie Branham from Catlettsburg and Scott Frasure, an Americorps Vista worker with River Cities Harvest in Ashland.

For a copy of the DVD or more information, email Becky Simpson at rssimp2@uky.edu or call 606-798-3270.

In addition to the DVD, a play, A Miraculous Healing, was created from the story circle scripts. Written by Molly Maynard, Fine Arts Agent with the Boyd County Extension Office, the play tells a story of a man facing colorectal cancer and the need for a colonoscopy.

A script of the play can be requested through Molly Maynard at the Boyd County Extension Office, 606-739-5184.