There is nothing worse than losing someone you love to the horror that is cancer. Luka Wolfgram of Auckland, Austrialia, has experienced this heartbreak at the mere age of 12 after losing his younger brother, 9-year-old Kosta, to the disease.
Kosta was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2015, and he fought “with the outmost strength and courage” for 13 months. Sadly, he succumbed to the disease in March of this year. His big brother doesn’t want this to happen to any more children, though, and he’s making sure his voice heard.
Luka has channeled his grief into making a film in hopes to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to pay tribute to his best friend, his brother. The five-minute video, titled Our Superheros, was entered into the Outlook for Someday film challenge. The challenge, which encourages applicants to make a short film about sustainability, is for people ages 24 and under. There are a number of awards distributed, as well as a red carpet ceremony. Luka amazingly filmed and edited this entire tribute himself — and the result is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Luka takes viewers through an emotional journey as he recounts memories of his brother and interviews Kosta’s teachers, his favorite doctor, and other family members. Luka’s mother explains, “What was really important to me was to make sure that Kosta was always happy and having fun.” His teachers recall Kosta’s warm laugh, saying, “We should have had someone here with all of Kosta’s giftings and joy and excitement for life.”
In the short film, Luka also chats with other families that are coping with cancer. He talks to Jeff and Lisa Cowen, parents of 3-year-old Mason who was diagnosed with cancer in March 2015. They explain, “The most amazing thing is he’s pretty outgoing and a happy little boy despite all the treatment he’s been through … it has been very hard along the way to manage his life at home.” The video concludes with all of the interview participants declaring that their suffering family members are “superheroes” — which I think we can all agree on.
In the video, it’s clear how much Luka loved his brother, but also how this experience has forced him to grow up much too soon. At one point, he notes, “I never wanted to see my little brother suffer, but I did and it was the most heartbreaking thing ever.” Tackling this issue head-on is truly remarkable for a boy that is simply a child in his own right.
It is safe to say that Luka’s video is an act of bravery and his candidness has already paid off. He has raised over $200,000 for childhood cancer research. The film explains that “cancer is a leading cause of childhood death: 500,000 kids are currently fighting around the world.” And in the chance that they beat the disease, Luka explains that “over 95% of survivors will have a signficant health-related issue as a result of its treatment.” And the worst part of all of this? “Only 4% of the National Cancer Institute budget is used to fund child cancer.” There is something very wrong with that number.
This is why what Luka has done is so important. The more people are aware of the unsettling number of children battling cancer, the more they’ll see how much we need more research to find a cure for these diseases. Luka should be so proud of what he’s done to honor his brother and raise awareness of childhood cancer — and I know that Kosta would be, too.
h/t: Essential Kids