London breast cancer survivor wins prize for short film about her ordeal
Published Friday, February 28, 2014 6:22PM EST
When single London mother and psychotherapist, Emily Beeckmans was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, she was scared not only for herself but for her two young children.
Her three-year journey is now documented in a short film which has just won a top prize at a Toronto film festival.
The film, entitled "Mom has Cancer" was one of eight films entered in this year's short film competition at Breast Fest.
It was announced Friday that her film won.
"I was scared to lose everything," says Beeckmans.
Her children were roughly eight and 12 years old when she was diagnosed.
"They were scared of me dying," she adds.
"I didn't know what cancer was at first. I was scared. I didn't know if she would live or die," says daughter Tia Raine.
"I knew it was cancer. I knew it was a bad disease, but i wasn't sure exactly what that meant," says son Jared Beeckmans.
After getting a mastectomy, she began her reconstruction process.
She started telling her story through photos, but then someone suggested film.
"I remember seeing the short films from Breast Fest in 2011. They told real stories about how people coped. It was inspiring," says Beeckmans.
Within a week -- and with some help -- she put together the six minute short "Mom has Cancer."
Her kids supported her from the beginning.
"Most of the time, people don't think of the kids, how they feel, what it's like," says Tia.
Besides showing the impact of her cancer on her kids, Beeckmans hopes her film also sends another message.
"Breast cancer is not an old woman disease. More and more young people are getting it. Young women need to take it seriously, they need to get checked, they need to get it detected early," she says.
"She's probably the biggest influence in my life. She's always been there for me," says Jared.