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Sandra Lee's Cancer Journey Documentary
Nobody's done it like Sandra Lee. The First Lady of New York is leading a charge to see more women get early screening for breast cancer. At 48 years young, Sandra Lee went for an annual mammogram after missing a few years of checkups. To her horror, the word cancer was spoken by her doctor.
The documentary Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee is a first look at breast cancer from diagnosis to mastectomy to post-op. Visually, emotionally, the story projected is raw and real. Sandra Lee's sister Kimber Lee is a grounding force as her sister Sandra's personal nurse from start to finish. Her partner, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, absorbs a power check when he surrenders his love over to the doctors who will heal Sandra Lee. In this story, love is present in the sludgy yuk of cancer.
Sandra's journey is willed by her own personal strength. Early on, she is able to process her diagnosis and make an educated assessment of herself deciding to remove her breasts to rid her body of the disease. Bouts of crying and emotions expressed pre- and post-surgery reveal her processing the life changing experience of breast cancer surgery. Throughout, Sandra Lee is who her fans know her to be, hospitable, charming and real. This, after all, was the lady who was not afraid to bring the whole Martha Stewart lifestyle to working class folks and show us all how to make a party with the things we had in our own pantries, refrigerators and shopping repertoires. This flair for details is In the film as Sandra's style is "you bring flowers to your surgeon". A determined presence exists even as she is sobbing, walking down the hall, to her operating table, ever forward towards her goal of being cured.
Post-surgery when Lee's room fills with so many thoughtful well wishes of flowers, she decides to share with other patients on her hospital floor. Sandra can only be herself and this includes having cancer and seeing as well as sharing the beauty in life.
The film was executive produced by: Sandra Lee, Cathy Chermol Schrijver, Kathy Bates, Geralyn White Dreyfous, and Sheila Nevins.
Lee was recognized at the IFP Gotham Awards 2018 with the Made in NY Award and appreciation for her works' contributions to the greater good from the Mayor's Office of the City of New York. The documentary can be seen on HBO.