Help the Selah Cohort Continue Debra Chasnoff’s Legacy
In January of 2011, 21 of us met as part of “Selah”, a Jewish leadership program. We were Selah’s 9th cohort, and we were all selected to participate as a diverse group of leaders focused on social change. It was there that we had the pleasure to meet Deborah Chasnoff “Chas”. Since then we’ve kept up with each other in different ways – and all of us formed a special bond. In November we were deeply saddened when we heard of Chas’s passing from breast cancer, and it didn’t take long to know that we needed to come together as a Cohort to honor Chas, her work, and commitment to her final social change project – Prognosis—a documentary that chronicled her experience navigating her illness personally and in partnership with health care professionals.
Chas had filmed her journey to use her experience to help others in similar situations to navigate their own care and choices. Working with GroundSpark, the organization that Chas co-founded and the organization that will produce the film, our goal is to raise $20,000 towards this effort. Chas was an amazing person who paved the way for so many with her art, her passion, and commitment to social change. We hope you will help our Cohort make her final vision a reality by generously donating to GroundSpark in honor of Chas and Prognosis.
With her huge heart and keen intelligence, Debra Chasnoff touched the lives of vast numbers of people through her fierce commitment to effecting social change with media. Many of you may not have known about her more than two-year long journey with breast cancer.
Following her diagnosis in June, 2015, she began documenting all facets of her experience. She envisioned a film that could help shape how people with cancer, their families, caregivers, healers, and medical practitioners approach life-changing diagnoses. She hoped to provide a powerful example of how to live fully in the face of an unknown prognosis. Central to Debra and her wife Nancy’s approach to dealing with cancer was an insistence that no one put a timeframe to her life expectancy. They offered the rest of us a breathtaking example.
In honor of Debra’s work and activism, her family and friends – many of whom are filmmakers and have been making this film with her since the beginning – are committed to seeing this project through. Hundreds of hours have been filmed and there is much research and development to be done. Debra entrusted Nancy Otto, Lidia Szajko, Joan Lefkowitz, Kate Stilley and Carrie Lozano to follow through with the film, working title: “Prognosis”.
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