The Story Continues...

That's a wrap. Tear it down. Get out of here. 

We've officially finished Dirty Laundry. Well, kind of. There are always changes that need to be made and I'm sure that notion will continue until the end of time but for the most part we are done. The film has its story and structure and we're sticking with it. We're going to continue to push it to film festivals across the country to get as many eyes on it as possible and we will ride this wave until it gently brings us back to shore. 

Wait...Why is this blog called "The Story Continues" if we're talking about the end? That's a great question, concerned blog reader. Our story has wrapped but the lives of the people we met along this journey continue. During our trip across the country we interviewed several people that either currently or have had Mesothelioma(meso). One of the people we interviewed, Robert, passed away around Christmas. When we met him, we had just ended our 78 day bicycle trip across the country in New York. We had an interview set up with Dr. Raja Flores at Mt. Siana School of Medicine and as we wrapped up his interview he asked if we would want to talk to a patient if they are willing. YES WE WOULD.

He introduced us to Robert and as things got kicked off we learned he was diagnosed on nearly the same day we began our bike trip (crazy). He was in New York to begin treatment with Dr. Flores and for a man who was about to undergo intense surgery he was incredibly confident and positive. His attitude was truly inspiring and meeting him was a great way to end the trip. 

As we began post-production we kept in touch with his family to get updates on his health and to let them know how the film was going. It was just before Christmas of 2017 when we got an email from Roberts daughter letting us know her father had passed away. This was a big reality check for us. When you're caught deep in making something sometimes you can drift from reality and forget the reasons why. 

On top of that, we recently got word that Mike Mattmuller, one of our most promising meso survivors who showed no evidence of disease (NED) after 4 rounds of chemo and having his left lung, half of his diaphragm, and lining of his heart removed, has had a recurrence. He is once again fighting for his life. 

It's hard to even imagine what it is like to go through all of this...especially when in the back of your mind you know all of this trouble has been caused by another human's greed. There are all kinds of evil in the world we live in but I can't think of much worse than knowingly causing this kind of pain and suffering. 

Mike is currently seeking treatment - his story continues. 

The story of asbestos is still being written and there doesn't seem to be a conclusion or even a climax in sight. It's still an uphill battle to ban asbestos and close the book on this problem. We are trying to help this happen. 

A full ban on asbestos needs to happen in America. 

Julie Gundlach,  Mike Mattmuller, Nancy and Jill Waite, Sheff Sweet, Latanyata Manuel, Marilyn Amento, Dusti Thompson, Dr. Black, Dr. Flores, Diana Stewart, Gina Guinn, Dr. Broaddus, Linda Reinstein, and Jordan Zevon all have to continue with their lives. For them there is no "Wrap party" if you will. Each day, Julie and Mike wake up with the possibility of a recurrence. Nancy, Jill, Sheff, Latanyata, Marilyn, Diana, Gina, Linda, and Jordan wake up to face the day without a loved one who was taken unfairly. Dr. Black, Dr. Broaddus, and Dr. Flores continue to study, research, and treat diseases caused by asbestos with no end in sight.

-Zack

 

Zack Johnson