Inspiration Family is a Ukrainian foundation supporting adult cancer patients. It was founded by five girls who knew what cancer was like from their experiences.
Before the full-scale invasion, the foundation popularized the problems of adult oncology, psycho-emotionally supported patients, and those in remission. But February 24, 2022, changed everything.
Due to another Russian attack on Ukraine, part of the foundation's team left Kyiv.
But, despite everything, the foundation had to help patients solve their problems. And it is difficult to do this when your country is at war. Ukrainians are focused on weapons, refugees, and the Russian army's offensive.
Experiencing so many terrible events, people with cancer were uncomfortable talking about what worried them. And they were worried about a lot.
- The medicines on which their lives depend were no longer imported to Ukraine;
- Some hospitals were under occupation;
- It has become challenging to get to chemo, even in non-occupied cities.
- Not everyone has the money or the opportunity to travel abroad.
Our task is to draw the attention of international organizations to these difficulties and urge them to help by financially supporting the Inspiration Family Foundation.
We suggested that the foundation do this with the help of video.
We noticed that important news about the war was being marked with an exclamation point in telegrams, on Facebook, or Instagram. They did this because there was so much information that it was easy to get lost. The exclamation point among all this information noise meant it was really important!
After the briefing and analysis, we also realized that cancer patients are going through two wars. One is the Russian-Ukrainian war (where missiles are launched that can fly anywhere, even into peaceful homes), and the other is the war against a deadly disease. Russia's aggression makes it difficult to win the second one.
That is why we decided to show these two wars fought by a person with cancer.
We proposed to create a promotional campaign #NeedHelpToo!!! Using this hashtag and adding two exclamation points, Ukrainians told their stories of fighting the disease and wrote about their needed help.
Later, the foundation expanded this campaign and dedicated it to the Day of People with Cancer History.
In the video, we decided to tell a real story from Ukraine.
The main target audience for such a video is foundations, government agencies, and hospitals abroad. That's why we decided not to work with actors. No, this story had to be told by someone for whom it is personal.
Meet Yulia. She is an internally displaced person from Kherson.
Her city was under occupation at the time of filming, so she left it and moved to Kyiv.
Yulia has brain cancer. The war greatly affects her treatment. We decided to tell her story about the foundation's activities through her. To tell everything without embellishment, as it is. Against the backdrop of tanks driving around Kyiv, in the hospital, in the apartment that became a temporary shelter, to show that millions of Ukrainians live in need of help.
We filmed in Kyiv in June 2022. But despite this, we managed to get permits to shoot in the capital in record time. Our entire team volunteered for this project. And we are grateful to everyone who dedicated their time to telling this story.
Veronika Gomeniuk, producer, and action:
“I can't call this shooting difficult, but it was long. We tried to fit all the locations — and there were four of them — into one shooting day. So everyone worked hard. Yulia, our protagonist, required time to rest between shoots due to her illness. But she is a fighter, and despite her fatigue, she gave 100% to the process. Yulia, we are proud of you!”
Some locations were Kachorovska Street, where we shot a scene in a café, and the Cancer Institute. A real doctor and a patient were filmed there. Everyone was very supportive of our project. And the fact that Kachorovska agreed to open its doors during the war to shoot a volunteer video was very heartwarming.
We are also grateful to the doctors at the Cancer Institute who agreed to appear in the video.
“It's great that all our characters are patients and doctors. For me, for example, this is super important. Because when I see actors in social videos, I realize that people are acting. They have not experienced this trauma. It is valuable to me that we convinced people to participate and support the project. For us, this video is an absolutely sincere story.”
Inessa Matyushenko, co-founder of the foundation:
“The situation in Ukraine is changing so fast now. When we started working on the video, Kherson was still occupied, the Kyiv region had just been liberated, and people were still afraid to return to their homes. No one knew what would happen next. We went to various conferences abroad to show the real lives of Ukrainian patients. But now that Kherson is free (not the whole region yet, but we believe in the Armed Forces), we are more confident in the future, but the problems with medicines remain. The video we created is now being shown to the international oncology community to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by patients during the war and evoke empathy for adults with cancer. They are always touched when they hear how far we have come. So we are glad that we managed to tell so much about ourselves in such a short format.”