Magic Bullets: Episode 1
Ken Burns, 2015, 1hr 52min. Accessed from AVON, 18 Sept, 2019.
The search for a “cure” for cancer is the greatest epic in the history of science. It spans centuries and continents and is full of its share of heroes, villains, and sudden vertiginous twists. This episode follows that centuries-long search, but centers on the story of Sidney Farber, who, defying conventional wisdom in the late 1940s, introduces the modern era of chemotherapy, eventually galvanizing a full-scale national “war on cancer.” Interwoven with Farber’s narrative is the contemporary story of little Olivia Blair, who at 14-months old is diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which spreads to her brain and spinal column. The film follows her as she and her parents struggle with the many hardships and decisions foisted upon a cancer patient. She remains in full remission a year after her diagnosis, but is still on her journey to finish her three-year treatment plan.