In 2005 I met Myles McLellan. I spent the last year of his life with him and documented
the social isolation he went through in having cancer. Myles wanted his story to be told,
so no other child would go through what he went through.

Inspired by
The Myles McLellan story

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In a village that never knew sickness a boy is sent into the wilderness to find the cure to his illness. He returns from his great journey to a village that does not recognize him for the changes he has endured.

They have no way to cope with his transformation or understand the message he brings back from his great journey. The boy is expelled from the village and forced to lead the rest of his life in a secluded wilderness.

Until one day, much later, the village sends out a young warrior to find the Boy and bring him home. It is time. They are ready to hear his story.

Directors Statement

Within a classical three-act story structure, there is always a three-step process, referred to in mythology and ancient cultures as the ‘Initiation’. Initiation is the process which forces us to look deeper into our selves in order to gain a greater understanding of our own lives. We are all linked to this initiation through our ancestral ties. Wherever we come from, whatever religion or race, we are all linked to the storytelling of our past. In the first act, the hero is separated from everything he or she knows. In the second act, known as the great ordeal, the hero is forced to face death or hardship. In the third act, the transformed hero returns to his community with a new message. Members of the community then incorporate this new knowledge into their own lives. In many ancient cultures, storytelling was as essential to communities as science and art. Storytelling enlightens the world around us as well as the world within us. Through storytelling, we can approach subjects that are beyond our understanding and gain insight to help us deal with them.


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Directed by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins and Billie Mintz

Story by Billie Mintz

Screenplay by Jeffrey Stewar wt Timmins and Billie Mintz

Animated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins and Chris De Castro

Illustration and Design by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins

Narration, Music and Sound by Igor Vrabac

Produced by Billie Mintz

Executive Produced by Jamie Bras

Trailer About Watch Film Credits



Short Synopsis

Surviving the Treatment: The Return of Myles McLellan' is a documentary (60minutes) that drives into the core of the aftermath of childhood cancer. It is an intimate glimpse into one family's battle to regain their lives. And it is a brutal portrait of the social isolation experienced by children with cancer.

Long Synopsis

When Myles McLellan was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour he was forced to take a journey from which he might never return. He was nine years old. Through twenty hours of surgery and weeks of chemo and radiation therapy, Myles’ resolve never wavered. He was a determined hero. A tiny warrior. But when the time came to return home, Myles found his childhood gone. So great were the changes in him, both physically and mentally, that nobody knew how to deal with his return. And he found himself alone.

Surviving the Treatment: The Return of Myles McLellan is a documentary that drives into the core of the aftermath of childhood cancer. It is an intimate glimpse into one family’s battle to regain their lives. And it is a brutal portrait of the social isolation experienced by children with cancer.

This film is Myles’ story. Myles told his story because he wanted people to be educated about their fear of cancer. And in doing so, ensure that no other child would have to go through what he did.

On February 16, 2006, the world lost a great storyteller. Myles’ cancer returned. This time he lost. Surviving the Treatment tells the tale of last year of his heroic mission to change one thing in this world.

Director Statement

Surviving the Treatment: the Return of Myles McLellan illustrates the strength and human spirit of a young boy with a brain tumor and the difficulties he experienced re-integrating into a community that did not know how to accept him after the physical changes wrought on him by the cancer treatments.

In this story, Myles went through his great initiation, was separated from everything he knew and faced death first hand. He was in a coma for three weeks, fighting cancer, a hero in every respect. Except he returned to a community that did not know how to acknowledge this kind of heroism. The sleepovers, the soccer games, the play dates had all stopped. Myles came back from this great initiation and nobody knew how to deal with “the return”. His parents, Wayne and Susan McLellan were left on their own to try and integrate Myles back into the world. Susan told me that when Myles went through the cancer treatment, her son died and in his place came a new boy, a wonderful boy, but a new boy. At the time, I was struck by this haunting visual of Cancer stealing this child from his mother and leaving a new child in his place. For months during the filming, I thought about what Susan told me and I looked for some sort of explanation. As I told Myles’ story and learned about his initiation, I began to understand Susan’s great insight. His initiation was so great that he was transformed, physically and mentally. A great storyteller with a strong heart was born among us. Yet there was no one to listen. This is the importance, the social significance of this documentary. Through Myles’ journey, we will learn how we can play our crucial part in the healing of those children who come back from their great ordeal to face the world. It is no coincidence that the third act of a great story requires community involvement. The film will change the way society perceives those that are living with cancer, creating a vehicle of awareness for those children. We can learn to help them integrate back into the community. Our message: learn from Myles’ story so no child will have to go through what Myles did.


Director Billie Mintz
Producer Billie Mintz
Executive Producer Jamie Bras, Billie Mintz
Associate Producer Adili Yahel
Line Producer Adili Yahel
Director of Photography Mike Carry, Roger Singh
Camera Operator Mike Carry, Roger Singh, Billie Mintz
Sound Mixer/Boom Operator Time Lue, David Best
Editor Jamie Tiernay, Billie Mintz
Assembly Editors Dougal Thoms, Jeremy Innis, Gary Lasaline, Hannah- Lee Nguyen, Maria Negovetic, Llewelen Lamaca,
Amit Missra, Geoff Broomer
Post Production Sound Igor Vrabac
Music Igor Vrabac Titles and Graphics Craig Kirkham
Colour Correction Gav Patel
Additional Post Production Victor Crowl, SMF Productions


Message from Myles’ Mother

Long Journey Home Screen

To those that find their way to this website, I hope you take the time to view the productions that were started while my son Myles' was still battling his brain cancer. (medulloblastoma).

It was his intention to carry his message for years to come, unfortunately he tired and passed away before it was finished. It is my hope that other's will finish what he started. A voice for children facing a cancer diagnosis, a sharing of information and real issues that face children who are battling not only the cancer themselves, but battling to get back into the game of life.

We need to take the time to educate communities, that you can't catch cancer, that peers have a role to play in the healing process of these children. It is through acceptance, compassion and understanding, that children like my son Myles', won't fear being accepted in schools, neighbourhoods, and social gatherings.

If you find yourself facing this maze of cancer with your child, and would like to share your thoughts with me, I can be reached through email;

This website and the distribution of hardcopy dvd's have been made avilable through the generous donation of Myles' Miracle Mission - Cancer Assist. (

Share your thoughts with us

If you feel like you want to share publicly in this space then please leave a comment below. Your comment can also appear on your facebook page to bring others in your network into this needed conversation. Please share Myles’ message with everyone you know as his story will help all those children who need our support. This is Myles’ legacy.