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Justina MillerMay 18, 2016 12:00:00 AM3 min read

Cancer’s Silver Lining: Compassion and Community

The inspiring film, “Until Forever” challenges a common perception that a story about cancer and death will inevitably be a somber one. Instead, this Christian movie about Michael Boyum’s battle with leukemia is brimming with joy and charm. While Michael Boyum’s great faith and sense of humor shape the film’s optimism, the film also illustrates an often unacknowledged element of suffering: that suffering has the power to inspire compassion and unite a community.

Because “Until Forever” is primarily Michael’s story, most of the film’s acts of compassion are directed toward him. However, while Michael’s cancer is in remission, he decides to help out another cancer patient from his unit, Mr. Fenton. Knowing that Mr. Fenton’s house is left unattended while he is in chemo, Michael gathers a huge group of people to clean Mr. Fenton’s house and trim the yard. The group works tirelessly, yet enjoys a fun time of fellowship while creating a warm and welcoming space for Mr. Fenton to come home to.

Stories of Silver Lining

Cancer’s ability to unite communities in compassion is not only true in “Until Forever.” In fact, the past couple weeks have shown a handful of news stories demonstrating hearts and hands joining together in the name of a cancer patient. Because cancer affects people of different ages and in different situations, the ways people join in compassion range in creativity. Here are just some recent examples:

1. Nurses Unite to Plan A Hospital Wedding.

Stage four cancer patient, Destini Schafer, dreamed of marrying her boyfriend, Brandon Thomas in Jamaica. However, when her battle with chemo treatment kept her at the hospital, nurses decided to come together and plan a lovely hospital wedding. So, on May 6th of this year, Destini and Brandon married in the hospital courtyard with 50 guests in attendance. Desitini’s health has even improved since the wedding, according to a Huffington Post article.

2. Strangers Raise Money for Vinny.

When Vinny Desautels was five years old, he decided to grow out his hair and donate it to cancer patients. Tragically, Vinny himself was recently diagnosed with cancer at the age of seven. When his parents started a GoFundMe page to help cover costs of treatment, 11,130 people donated $456,945 in just 15 days. Vinny's family is still hoping to raise their goal of $500,000. You can help too by giving at his GoFundMe page, Victory for Vinny.

3. Thousands Help NYC Photographer.

Famous Humans of New York photographer, Brandon Stanton, is on a mission to fight pediatric cancer. Thus far over $1 Million has been raised in only 11 days. Two-thirds of the money will go to pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, while one-third will support patients and families currently battling cancer. 

Helping Others Unite in Compassion

While cancer is and always will be an adverse event, its ability to break hearts enough to move them to do something is truly remarkable. The ways it opens doors for people to unite in projects of compassion helps us follow Christ’s call to love our neighbor.

The stories noted above all began with one person who had an idea to start a campaign or movement. What’s keeping you from being the first one to start a movement of compassion within your church or neighborhood? John 13:25 says that people will know we are Christians by our love for one another. How can you show love by uniting your community in the name of someone in need of compassion?

Be sure to check out Michael Boyum’s incredible story in the film, “Until Forever” now streaming exclusively at You can visit today to start a free one month trial, and enjoy hundreds of other Christian movies and TV shows that will inspire and engage your whole family.

Read Also: Top Christian Movies for Your Family


Justina Miller

Justina Miller grew up as a full time musician in a band with her sister. At eighteen she took her creativity to a University setting where she studied poetry at George Mason University and Oxford University in England. After college, Justina worked in campus ministry leadership with FOCUS at Vanderbilt University. There, she mentored students while fundraising her entire salary.

Justina went on to volunteer at an orphanage in India, and came back to the states to run conferences for FOCUS. In 2012, she returned to her musical roots to perform in DC as a jazz singer and maintained freelance writing gigs for columns, copywriting, screenplays, and ghostwriting for a major publication.

Recently, Justina has settled in New York City where she performs in local venues, continues to freelance, and runs crowdfunding, email marketing, and social media management for the Chiaroscuro Foundation.