Cancer Culture & Community event features award-winning filmmaker Noah Hutton, Nigerian Winter Olympic hopeful

October 14, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Award-winning documentary filmmaker Noah Hutton and 2014 Winter Olympic hopeful Seun Adebiyi are the keynote speakers for the Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall.

Noah Hutton

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Hutton, 24, will give a presentation about his documentary, "More to Live For," which shines the spotlight on bone marrow transplants. Adebiyi will provide a first-person account to the Purdue audience of how his life was shaken by cancer. A reception will follow at 9 p.m. in the Stewart Center Gallery.

The film, which will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 in Fowler Hall, includes the dramatic battles with cancer by Michael Brecker, a saxophonist and 15-time Grammy Award winner who died from complications of leukemia in 2007, entertainment executive James Chippendale, and Adebiyi (pronounced A-day-be-ay).

Seun Adebiyi

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All Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium events are free and open to the public. The Purdue Student Union Board is sponsoring the free showing of the film.

"This stirring documentary has been described as a film of tragedy and loss, strength and hope," said Kris Swank, project director at Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center, which along with the College of Liberal Arts, School of Nursing and Purdue Athletics is organizing this year's Cancer Culture & Community activities.

"The documentary by Noah Hutton presents the stories of three individuals facing life and death, and their commitment to making a difference. Only four in 10 people suffering from leukemia actually find a bone marrow match. Purdue is proud to be a part of this global mission and to echo this film's message to bring awareness about bone marrow donation to the millions of people who could save a life today."

A graduate of Yale Law School and a collegiate swimmer, Adebiyi, 28, was diagnosed with leukemia while training to become the first Nigerian to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the skeleton event.

Chippendale is the founder of international entertainment broker CSI Insurance and the anti-leukemia charity Love Hope Strength Foundation, which performs concerts across the globe to highlight the need for donors and to dispel myths about donating marrow. Through his efforts, more than 20,000 new donors have been added to the international marrow registry.

Brecker, considered by many the greatest jazz tenor saxophonist ever, died from complications of leukemia in January 2007. Brecker's widow Susan, a psychotherapist, playwright and mother of two children, served as co-producer of "More to Live For" and appears on the film.

In connection with the talks by Hutton and Adebiyi, a second local bone marrow drive is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 in the southwest foyer of Stewart Center. The Purdue School of Nursing is assisting with the bone marrow registry.

To be on the National Bone Marrow Registry, participants will be asked to provide a swab of cheek cells, said Bambrah Miller, who is leading the community events for this year's Cancer Culture initiative. The tissue type will be sampled and placed in the registry for matching with patients in need of a bone marrow transplant. Registrants must be between the ages of 18 and 55.

Nearly 100 people signed up at the first bone marrow registry at a Jazz Sampler event on Sept. 23 at the Lafayette Theater, surpassing the goal set by organizers, Miller said.

"A primary mission of the film and this year's Cancer Culture & Community program is to spread the awareness that becoming a donor is as easy as a cotton swab in the cheek and the majority of the time donating is like giving platelets or plasma," said Amy Ellingwood, a graduate student from the Purdue School of Nursing. "Our goal is to add 3,000 people to the bone marrow registry at our keynote event in November, making Purdue the largest life-saving campus in this effort."

Through this year's event, Ellingwood said, Purdue is encouraging people to sign the registry to become a potential bone marrow donor, especially younger people and men. There also is a need for more minorities on the registry, she said. For example, the likelihood of a match is highest among those with similar racial backgrounds, but only about 515,000 potential donors - 8 percent of the total registry - are African-Americans.

Funds raised by "More to Live For" also are helping organize bone marrow drives around the world, including the first ever bone marrow registry in Nigeria.

Noah Hutton, the son of actors Timothy Hutton and Debra Winger, spent much of his childhood on film sets, where he developed a passion for filmmaking.

After graduating from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., in 2009, Noah Hutton directed his first major film, Crude Independence, a documentary that examines the impact of the largest oil discovery in the history of North America on the tiny North Dakota town of Stanley. The film won Best Documentary Feature at the 2009 Oxford Film Festival.

Currently, Hutton is filming year one of a planned 10-year documentary exploring The Blue Brain Project, an attempt to simulate an entire human brain, neuron by neuron, in a massive virtual simulation on IBM supercomputers.

In addition to the Oncological Sciences Center, College of Liberal Arts, Purdue Athletics and School of Nursing, other sponsors for the 2011 Cancer Culture & Community Colloquium are the Department of English, Office of the Provost, Office of Engagement, the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, WBAA Radio and Summit Financial Group of Indiana.

Discovery Park's Oncological Sciences Center, in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, launched the annual Cancer Culture and Community initiative in 2007 to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to those struggling with cancer.
     Cancer Culture & Community events lineup:

     Wednesday, Nov. 2
     7 p.m. -  "More to Live For" showing by PSUB, Fowler Hall

     Thursday, Nov. 3
     9 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Bone Marrow Registry, Stewart Hall in southwest foyer of Stewart Center
     7:30 p.m. - "More to Live For" presentation with Noah Hutton and Seun Adebiyi, Fowler Hall
     9 p.m. - Reception, Stewart Center Gallery 
Writer:  Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources:  Kristine Swank, 765-494-4674,
                  Bambrah Miller, 765-496-6147,
                  Amy Ellingwood, 765-397-3637,