Why I Want to Eat Your Pancreas Film's Disease Awareness Promotion is Important

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Despite hearing positive reviews, I was not planning to see I want to eat your pancreas. A press release that the ANN newsroom received today changed my mind. Aniplex of America and Fathom Events announced on Tuesday that they have partnered with the National Pancreas Foundation for the U.S. release of the film on February 7 and 10.

The screenings will include a pre-show with information about the pancreas and services from the National Pancreas Foundation. The aim of the collaboration is to raise awareness about "a not often talked about topic." The National Pancreas Foundation's overall mission is to provide “hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting edge research, advocating for new and better therapies, and providing support and education for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals.” The anime film's screenings in more than 400 theaters will provide ample opportunity for the foundation to gain exposure toward those goals.

Facing serious disease as a young person can be overwhelming. Though my own diagnosis involves a different organ (kidney), the goals of this screening initiative ring close to home. From receiving a shocking diagnosis last fall, to facing major surgery, to starting a GoFundMe to pay for cancer treatment, I feel like I can see my own issues in confronting serious disease partly reflected in the anime's story. The collaborative I want to eat your pancreas screening project is a great way to spread awareness about illnesses facing young adults like the anime's heroine, me, or thousands of people across the country and around the world.

Aniplex of America describes the film as a "heartwarming, coming-of-age" story that is "based on Yoru Sumino's bestselling novel about two teenagers, an aloof bookworm and a bubbly high school girl who suffers from an unspecified terminal pancreatic illness." Cecila Petricone, chronic pancreatitis patient and volunteer for the National Pancreas Foundation, said the film's trailer "is a glimpse into the complex and multifaceted lives of those suffering from pancreatic disease.” She said it particularly highlights "the effects disease has on those who care for the sufferer.”

Raising awareness about serious diseases is a complex challenge, especially when young people are involved. Though the anime itself does not specify the female lead's condition, the story combined with the National Pancreas Foundation's pre-show can spark discussion about real diseases facing real people.

Thank you, Aniplex of America, Fathom Events, and the National Pancreas Foundation for working together on an event that can spread knowledge about serious diseases in young people. I hope the screenings bring new momentum and interest to the National Pancreas Foundation's cause. Below is more information about the film and upcoming screenings.

Aniplex and Fathom Events' screenings on February 7 at 7:00 p.m. local time will be English-subtitled, while screenings on February 10 at 12:55 p.m. local time will be English-dubbed. The screenings will also feature "exclusive footage from Japan" and a behind-the-scenes look at the English dub.

The film opened in Japan on September 1. The movie ranked at #10 at the Japanese box office in its opening weekend, selling 87,206 tickets on Saturday and Sunday to earn 106,999,080 yen (about US$960,000).

The novel's story is told from the point of view of an unnamed protagonist who happens to find a diary in a hospital one day. The diary belongs to his classmate, a girl named Sakura Yamauchi, who is revealed to be suffering from a terminal illness in her pancreas, and who only has a few months left to live. Sakura explains that the protagonist is the only person apart from her family who knows about her condition. The protagonist promises to keep Sakura's secret. Despite their completely opposite personalities, the protagonist decides to be together with Sakura during her last few months.

Source: Press release

Images © Yoru Sumino/Futabasha Publishers Ltd 2015 ©Your Pancreas Anime Film Partners

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