They are the most social generation: doing everything for the ‘gram, during the most exciting and pivotal time of their lives. But what happens when cancer forces a twenty-something to hit pause? In Cancer #NoFilter, three millennials are creating platforms to show what it’s like to have cancer at this age, so no one has to go through it alone.
Having followed Emily, Elly, and Jesus for four years, Cancer #NoFilter, is a 80-minute cinema vérité style documentary that delves into the psychological impact and physical challenges one has when diagnosed with cancer in early adulthood (20's and 30's). The documentary is an effort to educate millennials on the importance of healthcare and inspire activism within a generation, while highlighting the incredible stories of a few who are making an impact.
The Stories Featured in the film
Four years ago I met Jesus Casado at a political rally in Manhattan. His passion for human rights motivated him to move to New York to pursue his Master’s Degree in Global Affairs. Jesus battled Leukemia during his undergraduate studies. When I met Jesus, he just delayed his studies again after discovering his cancer returned and spread to his brain. Jesus let me film him throughout the next years during treatments and multiple stays in the ICU. Stuck in a cycle of illness, Jesus’ isolation led to depression. Shocked there were few resources for cancer patients his age, Jesus combatted the loneliness by documenting his story online. While Jesus is still battling Leukemia, he remains an activist for human rights, empowering young children about equality.
I began filming Elly Mayday’s daily journey with Ovarian Cancer, modeling, and activism two years ago. This dynamic young Canadian, had a strong sense of purpose as a body positive activist. Having begun plus size modeling, Elly documented her story online. Soon her following grew to over 70k. She did all of this despite the doctor’s not knowing what caused the chronic stomach pain she had for years. After three years in her new modeling career, a major New York modeling agency offered Elly a contract. Just as she was moving, Elly’s pain intensified. She was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Elly, in an effort to be bigger than her illness, inspiringly filmed herself shaving her head so that cancer had one less thing to take from her. Her strength was so impactful and has made her YouTube channel a space where women with ovarian cancer go for community.
Emily Cashel, 24, thriving as a political analyst on Capitol Hill, woke up one morning very ill. Doctor’s soon found a large tumor in her brain. Emily’s sense of humor was unwavering throughout the process. She named the tumor Bartholomew, and labeled her journey #BartsEviction. After surgery, Emily lost her ability to speak and move the left side of her body. I followed Emily through recovery. From doctor’s visits, acupuncture appointments, and physical therapy, Emily tried everything to stop the chronic migraines she has due to an aggressive surgery. She still managers the pain, but does not let it stop her from raising $70,000 for Cycle for Survival or developing an app to help millennials with chronic illness manage insurance.
Gladys Bensimon, Producer & Director
Joe DiGiacomo Co-Producer & Lead Editor
Claire Karwowski, Co-Producer
Ariel Redmond, Creative Production
Hannah Redmond, Marketing & Media
If interested in being involved with this project, please email Gladys at
For press inquiries, please email Hannah at