Be Here Now: The Andy Whitfield Story

I should thank my fiancé for this post, since he's the one who first turned me onto Spartacus and Andy's story. At first, I refused to watch it: I hate violence and can't stand the sight of any kind of blood, even the fake kind, so a gladiator show was as far from my TV scene as you could go. But then I caught the first episode of season 1 with David, just to check out all the hot men. And I was hooked. It's a beautifully made show. Every actor is amazing, the storyline is strong and unpredictable. Sure, there are violent battles, but I just look away during those (I know, I'm such a girl. But I really can't take it). Oh, and it's full of naked men. Constantly.

For those of you who don't know Andy's story: Andy Whitfield was a Welsh-Australian engineer living in Sydney with his wife, Vashti, and their kids. He got discovered by a modeling scout at age 30 and went on to make the switch into acting with the title role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand (watch it and fall in love!) in 2009. Unfortunately, Andy's success story was cut short by non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010. He initially beat his cancer, but it came back stronger than before, and on September 11, 2011, Andy passed away, leaving behind not only a beautiful family and amazing memory of his incredible acting in Spartacus, but also a truly remarkable story of courage and living in the present.

I backed the Be Here Now film project on Kickstarter yesterday (because yesterday was Andy's birthday) and I'm so happy to be a part of this amazing story. More than 200,00 people pledged money to see the Be Here Now documentary about Andy's fight with cancer finished and brought to the world. It's a story that truly deserves to be told.

Yesterday I watched the preview (the above video, watch it!). His courage and determination is so moving. Obviously I cried my eyes out, especially when he said that he was "open to the journey and the adventure". Most people treat losing their wallet like a tragedy, but here's this beautiful, successful man with life-threatening cancer, and he sees it as a journey and an adventure. There's so much we can all learn from Andy and his "be here now" mentality.

I have a friend who's a cancer survivor. Knowing her story has made me certain that my religious mother was wrong about many things, but right about one: God only gives you a burden as heavy as you can carry. She was so strong throughout her ordeal. Never once did I hear her complain about it, never did she ever fall into the "why me?" trap. She just stayed incredibly strong, through it all, and we learned an important lesson from her story: never take anything for granted. The little things. Tomorrow they might not be there. Or you might not be there.

My friend survived, got better, and is now living a full, happy life. Andy didn't make it through, but his legacy lives on, not only in his beautiful acting (for someone who's had so little training, he's amazing) but also in this inspiring documentary that tells the story of a true warrior. My heart goes out to his wife, Vashti Whitfield - what a strong, amazing woman. I can't imagine what it's like to go through what she's been through. I'm sure she'll raise two fantastic children who will always be proud of their dad. Because the whole world is.

Watch the video, pledge money to the cause and be part of the Be Here Now story at Kickstarter.

pictures from Pinterest

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