A Lion in the House Talkback
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Visit our archived discussion forum to read posts from viewers, the filmmakers and family members from A LION IN THE HOUSE.

People have been asking how they can help or contact the families in A LION IN THE HOUSE. For more information, contact independentlens@pbs.org

This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.

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Lee Moultrie
North Charleston, South C

Thank God for blessing these families, friends and associates for the strength to be supportive of children that have been diagnoised with cancer. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless the doctors, nurses and all those associated with the care of the children and families diagnoised with cancer.(yes, thats even the cooks, maids and janitors, etc...)

We're all one big team working to bring greater education and awareness to our families, community and society about childhood care and resources that are accessible for their care.

Peace and Blessings.


Wow--I just saw Part 1 and am utterly exhausted! I can't imagine how you did this for many years! But it was so good. Thank you. We need this documentary. I hope many people watch it--anyone with a child with cancer, adult survivors of childhood cancer, teachers and school folks, nurses and health care folks, friends and family of pediatric patients.

Part of me wants to be able to watch part 2 NOW, not wait till tomorrow, but I'm not sure that I could take it. It is draining.

I've had cancer as an adult. That's a whole different ballgame. It drew our family closer, deepened my relationship with God, helped me (I hope) mature, as I look at life differently now. But even though it's been a good experience for me, I still wouldn't wish it on someone else, certainly not a child.

Thank you Julia and Steve. You have given our society a wonderful gift in filming these families. I think that you gave them a gift, too, by giving voice to their struggles and by your presence.

Alpharetta Georgia

I was touched by the families in "A lion in the house". Five years ago my daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at CHOA Scottish Rites Childrens Hospital. My wife Amy sprang into action and headed up our daughter's care and was never reticent in voicing an opinion as to her care. Our daughter received the best of care with chemo at Scottish Rites. Surgery for resection of her tumor at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NY, Autologous Bone Marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins, Radiation at Piedmont Hospital Atlanta and finally clinical trial at Sloan Kettering. The local Scottish Rites Nurses and Doctors have remained family friends as have other pediatric cancer families. Our daughter has been off tratment for four years and has been a pillar of strength. Nothing phases her. Like some of the comments made in the film our son did not get the attention he deserved. My wife was later diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer and despite a very strong fight did not survive the battle - my families perception has been that the healthcare for adult cancer patients is nowhere close in agressiveness or compasionate compared with that of pediatrics. A big congratulations to our local support groups such as Camp Sunshine (www.mycampsunshine.com) and to organisations such as the Ronald McDonald House in NYC who provide help to those in need. My personal best wishes and support to those who share their experience with others in the film.

Ann Warsing
Maple Shade, NJ

What a powerful, heart-wrenching documentary. The families were awe-inspiring, as were the beautiful children/young men. I am looking forward to the second film. Thank you for sharing your lives with us.

Loveland, OH

I was shocked to turn A LION IN THE HOUSE on and recognize Dale Ashcraft as a friendly cell phone sales rep that I met when moving here 2 years ago. I am not sure the time frame of the filming and what stage their son was in when I met him, but I had no idea about his son. It never showed in his effort and generosity and concern for serving his customers. The film did a good job in segment 1 of depicting the hope of Dale and his family when the clergy many family in his room praying. It is so easy to give up during such a challenge.

I only have good thoughts and prayers for his family. The other observation is that it must get pretty messy dealing with an ill child when a divorce and remarriage has occurred.

Christopher Jensen
New York, New York

Bravo to you all,

I am so moved by this film. I am in awe of these young lives, and what you have so incredibly captured through the lens.

I am a 3rd year medical student, and I am confident that this film is amongst the best I have ever seen approaching such a difficult subject in a such a poingant and compelling way. I truly hope I can help to make it a part of my school's curriculum, as physicians in training (and all of us for that matter) can learn so much from it.


I think the program really helped alot of families. I know that it helped me because my sister has thyroid cancer. We have tried to help spred the word about cancer and it seems like nobody really cares anymore.

Salem Ma

I am so glad that I found this site and am looking forward to seeing the program. I am the mother of an 11 year old named Tommy who is currently in his 3rd remission from A.L.L.He has been fighting now for over 7 years. Through B.M.T. and testicular leukemia relapse he is my inspiration!He is due to end treatment once again this fall.I am glad to read the other posts and hear the great stories of survivors.

Sandy Tabeling

What a great documentary. We were a part of the CCHMC Hem/Onc family 9 years ago when my son was DX with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage III. We remember alot of the patients, like Justin and his family. The docs and nurses we are seeing are the ones who treated my son. I think it is wonderful to finally let other people know the tremendous struggles we and others went through during this time. Really nobody knows,even family members don't even know the war we fought because they weren't there at the clinic or hospital. This show is letting people see what these children had to go through and I thank you.
God bless you and CCHMC


Some things you never forget-but some things are so far away with time that it just takes something like A Lion In the House to bring back those memories. So strange looking at it from other families perspectives...I thought, "Oh, my God- I lived that!" My daughter is a teenaged survivor of leukemia, 1 year and 3 months off treatment, and I had managed to push those memories of treatment so far back in my mind and enjoy our "normal" life again. Hopefully this series brings more awareness to childhood cancers.

Mary M.

I sincerely appreciate the families and their strength in "Lion in the House". In our house it is a life threatening disease of another kind and I can't help but think of what it will be like down the road. I know I will never give up either and it truly shows that God's love is always there. I was amazed at how they go on one day at a time; their resolve to be with their children and the closeness it brought to the families. I really appreciated the interviewer and camera person respecting the families and the families allowing the camera that far into their personal lives.


What a wonderful program! It is informative, heartbreaking and soul lifting.

In a segment of the program, there was a woman with Justin who was moving her hands over his body. Later the family was also doing this with Justin. From the sequence the woman was using with her hands over Justin's body, it appeared to be Healing Touch. Although other therapies and procedures were discussed, Healing Touch was not mentioned or identified in this particular segment.

I only wish that this had been mentioned, as it is a form of bioenergy work that is becoming more widespread as a form of complementary and alternative medicine used in conjunction with traditional medicine. It not only helps support patients, but is also a way in which families can actively participate in the care of their loved ones.

Frank Eliason
Chalfont, PA

I just wanted to say thank you for the documentary on childhood cancer. To be honest, I am trying to watch, but it is too hard. My wife and I lost our 3 year old daughter, Gianna Rose, during her battle with Hepatoblastoma, childhood cancer of the liver. She also was premature and she spent the 1st three months of her life in the NICU. She was also diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth. Most families can never understand what families deal with childhood cancer go through each day. The amount of fight is amazing. We learned so much, and we attempted to always make the best decisions for our daughter. More information about Gia is available at www.giannarose.cc

Judi Driscoll
Walpole, Mass

I just finished watching " A Lion In The House" I cried all the way through it. We never realize how lucky we are until we see something like that. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. You know it's out there but when it's not happening to you or yours then you put it in the back of your mind. How deeply I was touched. I have a healthy daughter and I would never be able to go through what all these young people are going through. Maybe when it's you you develop a different kind of strength. You do anything when it comes to your child. I don't know how I finished watching it. It just broke my heart. I will thank the Lord every night for how lucky I have been. But I will also pray for all of those who aren't so lucky. This was a tough email for me. I will watch the second half tomorrow. I also realize I need to stop feeling sorry for myself which I tend to do. This puts everything into a different perspective for me. Thank you! My heart is aching tonight!

Julia Reichert
Yellow Springs, Ohio

I am very moved by the words of parents posted here, even before LION is on the air. Kids who have fought cancer and faced its aftermath, whatever the outcome, have so much to teach us, so many ways to inspire us. I am one of the filmmakers of this program. My daughter is also a survivor, now she is 10 years in remission. She is aware of the risks to her long term health, risks she shares with all survivors of childhood and teenage cancer. She knows she benefitted from the courage of kids who fought before her, who contributed to the body of knowledge that is now saving more lives. Our family came together and got over the small stuff with her illness. Thank you to all the familes in LION who gave us so much, and thank you to the folks who have shared their stories here.

maureen cahill

I learned that under the best of circumstances we aren't able to offer enough community supports to many of these families. The number of children in any locality in the United States who will be diagnosed with a childhood cancer is largely dependent on population growth. The case rate for these diseases increased slightly from 1975 to 2000, mostly in the leukemia and brain tumor groups. Mostly, though, the rate is predictable and States with high population growth such as Arizona, and some with disproportionately higher growth in the pediatric population (again, Arizona) will require more services to support these families. From Candlelighters to research groups to Gilda's Clubs to Wellness Communities to local church groups, it takes a big village and a lot of social supports to assist these families while assuring the best outcomes for their children. Thanks for so eloquently telling their stories and making us think about how much more we can and should do in places that need it most.

Carol Stork
West Columbia, SC

Haven't seen it yet--will be watching 6/21-22. Son Thomas was diagnosed 11/17/94 at age 8 with neuroblastoma Stage III--treated with chemo, radiation and an autologous BMT--relapse confirmed Palm Sunday 1996--surgery to remove tumors from his heart--then went to Sloan Kettering to see about entering clinical trial with monoclonal antibodies--drs there found he did not have neuroblastoma--had PNET, form of Ewing's--neuroblastoma diagnosis was unusual to begin with-he was old for it, didn't have all markers for it, when BM was cleansed before BMT, level of neuroblastoma cells was "very low"--lots of issues with whether diagnosis made difference in outcome--Brian Kushner at Sloan Kettering thought not--he was treated with melphalen as part of BMT--Dr. Kushner felt that if cancer had not been too aggressive for any cure, melphalen should have cured it--he was retreated with Ewing's protocol--problems with heart during some of it--we were told that if he lived he possibly would have severe heart problems as he grew older--had experimental treatment with topotecan not long before his death December 7, 1996--our own personal Pearl Harbor--we had Make-a-Wish trip to San Diego several weeks earlier--he planned to be a zoologist--was one of those kids who lived flat out from birth--almost as if he knew his time was short--very brave--had a steady girlfriend even at his age--loved holidays--thought school should be out on ALL of them, not just Christmas and Thanksgiving--One of the things that makes The Lion in the House so poignant for us is that he loved lions--he had a huge stuffed lion, Leo, who was his conpanion--buried with him.

Dallas, TX

I look forward to seeing A Lion In The House. The stories I have seen are near to my heart.
My daughter, now 21 years old and cancer free, was diagnosed with retinablastoma at the age of 8 months. She had her left eye enucleated and, fortunately, did not need chemo or radiation - the tumor was contained. Of course, we had to undergo examiation under anesthesia every 3 months, then every 6 months for 5 years. It was so terribly difficult - her father and I were not married at the time and were estranged from each other...this brought us together - fighting for her life.
I'm proud to say that she is now a college student starting her senior year. As we speak, she and 43 other young adults (mostly college students) are riding their bicycles from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. So far, they have raised over $250,000.
So my daugther continues her battle to fight cancer - a fight she started at 8 months old! God Bless all of the cancer victims and their caregivers.

Denise Wedel
Aberdeen, ID

This subject hits close to home for us. Our 3 year old daughter just finished a 15 month battle with embronyal rhabdomyosarcoma. Things were further complicated when Anna's tumor didn't respond to any of the 5 chemotherapy drugs that we tried. Thankfully, a radical surgery saved her life but our lives will never be the same again. I don't think that we'll ever have another day when the thought of cancer doesn't enter our minds. This happened once, what's to say that it won't happen again?
The whole world of pediatric oncology is terribly frightening and overwhelming.
Thanks for bringing awareness to this horrible disease.

Damian Buchman
Brookfield, WI

I just celebrated my 13th year of being a two time survivor of childhood cancer. Today, I am 28 years old and I am the only known survivor of Bi-lateral osteosarcoma. I cannot wait to see this program, to watch from the outside in, so I can understand better what it was like for my family. So I can understand how they felt when their brother and son was battling for his life. Thank you for bringing this very important topic to the public conciousness. Kids are so strong, they battle with every last cell in their bodies, with all the confidence and positivity in the world....this, I feel is why childhood survivor rates are on the rise. The power of the mind, body, and soul will always be stronger than the chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. To all those still in the fight, I pray for you. Never give up, survivorship is just around the corner and worth every last drop of chemo, every last cut, and every last needle. To all across the world...Remember this, Life is too Precious not to live it...it certainly is not too short.

Dale Ashcraft
Villa Hills, Ky.

It makes me feel great to see the comments of kids who are now survivors of chilhood cancer. So Lion kids keep on fighting you are special people and the world is better having you in it.

Brad Lichtenstein
Milwaukee, WI

I had the privilege of seeing an earlier cut of this magnificient and wrenching film. It is everything that the human spirit is made of...don't miss it.

Teri Jourdan
Grand Rapids, MI

As a relapse survivor of leukemia, I am excited that someone has taken the time to show what fighting childhood cancer entails. I think its important to let the voices of these children be heard. Childhood cancer is an incredibly scary experience, not just for the child, but for the families and caregivers as well. I've been a survivor for over 14 years now, and there are still things I cannot do that I was able to before I got sick. But, the most important thing, to me, is that I fought this, and I beat it. And I refuse to ever let it hold me back.

Pat Hopkins
Beaver Dam, WI

I am so looking forward to "A Lion In The House". Our granddaughter was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma on Feb.20 at just under 13 months old.( stage IV). Our lives have changed dramaticily.Her theme has always been a roaring lion--and what a little lioness she's been. She had half of her liver taken out Mon., and the little lion came home this a.m. I cannot wait to see the show--it warned that we will cry--but I know what that is all about. So glad to share and understand what other families have gone thru!! Sincerely and God Bless you all and my prayers are with you!

Jim Sullivan
Bainbridge NY

Our son was treated by Dr. Arceci when He was in Boston at Dana Farber Cancer institute. Our son was 13 at the time of his diagnosis. After an above the knee amputation and a year on chemotherapy he was discharged. That was in 1983-4. Today he's healthy happy 35 year old with three children and a beautiful wife. I pray he will never know the pain that his mother and I endured, despite the joy he gives us now. Dr. Arceci is a gift from God. I have no doubt that he saved my son's life, and perhaps mine. You can bet We'll be watching.

Sharon Rezac
Naperville, Il

Thank you so much for sharing with the world this life-changing journey. Our daughter was diagnosed at 2 months old. We are blessed to say she is now a healthy 3 year old.

I hope your program will enlighten the world as we were enlightened so that more people will take action to fund the fight and support the children and families.

I look forward to the series and thank you.

Jennifer Phelan

I just wanted to express my gratitude for this upcoming series. I lost my daughter 5 years ago to "the cancer monster" as she so gracefully called it. She was only 7-years-old at the time.

I get very upset due to the lack of exposure regarding childhood cancer. Society doesn't deal with it because "kids are not supposed to die"! But, we all know that in reality they do. There is so much talk and fundraising for so many other cancers but chldhood cancer is never talked about. Everyone sees the pink ribbons for breast cancer, yet when I wear my gold ribbon nobody has a clue, then when I tell them the just gasp for air and carry on. I just feel that these kids that are fighting, that have survived, and those that have not survived need to be recognized.

So, way to go for A Lion in the House! I will be waiting (with my tissues) to watch this series.