Atlanta filmmaker documents cancer battle

Posted by Samantha Powell on October 6th, 2014 |

Part of our journey is finding that person — the one who will wait with you, the one who will navigate a world in which vows pledged in happiness are tested in ways never imagined.

In this part of his life, Jonathan Hicks wears the title of patient, his path directed by doctors and drugs. But in Hicks’ other life, he directs. He picks the path.

“I began to write a script immediately afterwards, and I wrote it for her,” Hicks said of his wife Robin.

Hicks is a filmmaker, a very good one. His second short film is called “Nirvana” and stars Robin. It is being shot in Serenbe, a half-hour south of Atlanta.

“It’s going really well today,” Robin said. “We got the first take, so that always makes you feel good.”

The opening scene is in a farmhouse. The bedroom where they are shooting is crowded with members of the crew.

This is the way they dreamed it would be when they fell in love at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Instead, at just 28 years old, Hicks, who has never smoked, is fighting Stage IV lung cancer.

“It’s been really hard,” he said.

There’s nothing lucky in his diagnosis, except that he has a mutation called ALK. Hicks’ doctor, Suresh Ramalingam, explained the significance: “Having this specific mutation allows us to bypass chemotherapy and go to what we call targeted therapy.”

It’s working, for now. And the now is where this young couple has learned to live.

Fighting back tears, Robin said, “Our heart or your soul takes over and I immediately started seeing life differently. Every moment was a gift with him.”

They married after his diagnosis, already living the reality of vows uttered in gowns of white. And they had a story to tell.

“It’s about a young girl who just discovered that she’s been diagnosed with lung cancer, and the whole film takes place over the course of one day,” Jonathan Hicks said.

It’s the most challenging role in Robin Hicks’ life, because it is her life.

“It’s tremendously hard. It’s a different experience,” she said.

The lessons most couples learn over a lifetime, the Hicks have mastered in months.

“I’m a better person for all of this. That the love that I feel is fuller, that I’m a more whole human being. I would rather live a minute of beauty than 90 years of sorrow,” Jonathan Hicks said.

Part of our journey is finding the person to travel it with us, who will shoulder the burden, and share our story, for as long as we can.

“That’s why I can’t stop making movies. It’s how I am able to talk. There’s always beauty. And there’s always hope,” Jonathan Hicks said.

Date: 10/6/14
Outlet Full Name: 11 Alive
Author: Jaye Watson

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