How Can We Love You

How Can We Love You is the documentary story of Mary Sue Douglas and Jan Livingston, two women with metastatic breast cancer who travelled across North America with a community theatre troupe performing the play Handle with Care? This innovative play dramatized findings from research studies involving women with metastatic breast cancer and the oncologists who treated them. (Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is treatable but rarely curable.) The play's cast included women with breast cancer, researchers from the Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre and actors from Act II Studio at Ryerson Polytechnic University.

Filmmaker Laura Sky takes us behind the scenes in this compelling documentary to explore the personal stories of Mary Sue and Jan as they perform their stage roles, deal with the treatment of their cancers and live their everyday lives. How Can We Love You brings us face to face with the daily struggles and pleasures of these women. Mary Sue and Jan talk frankly about their own feelings of mortality; and about their joy and fulfillment in making a difference for other women in the same situation.

How Can We Love You makes us think about the issues faced by women with breast cancer. It also addresses the concerns of those who love and care for them: friends and family, the health care community and women's health advocates. Most importantly, this film gives an unprecedented voice and presence to women with metastatic breast cancer.

Mary Sue Douglas lived with cancer for 14 years and with metastatic breast cancer for seven and a half years. She was a tireless advocate for women with breast cancer until her death on March 31, 2002. Mary Sue is survived by her husband Peter in Toronto and three adult sons, all of whom were part of the documentary. Jan Livingston became ill during the making of How Can We Love You and died in fall, 2000. A single working mother from Orillia, Jan too, was an advocate for women with breast cancer. She leaves her adult daughter, Nadine, who is also in the documentary. How Can We Love You? is dedicated to the memory of Mary Sue and Jan.

How Can We Love You was generously funded by the Ontario Women's Health Council (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care), the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Ontario Chapter, the Breast Cancer Fund (U.S.) and more than 70 individuals, foundations and corporate sponsors.