The documentary ‘Surviving Burkitts’ was filmed throughout Malawi.
Some 50 years ago, the Irish surgeon, Denis Burkitt, described a tumour prevalent in children living at low altitude areas in Equatorial Africa (a belt lying 15 degrees either side of the Equator, the so-called ‘Great Lakes Region’ of Africa). Since then, much has been written about this tumour, the fastest growing malignancy known to man. It still exists, as in Burkitt’s time, but is now known as Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It is the most common tumour of children in this region of Africa, and it still kills approximately half its victims.
This is one of the saddest lymphomas as it hits mainly otherwise healthy children between the ages of 5-10, who survived infancy in parts of the world where childhood death rates before the age 5 are particularly high.
In 2005 Stephanie Hampton's son died in the UK from Burkitts Lymphoma. Stephanie travels to Malawi where this rare form of tumour based cancer is prevalent in children; she wants to understand more about the disease that took her son's life and also find out what can be done to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of its country's children.
Surviving Burkitt's is not just a moving personal journey, but a journey into the nature of loss, shown through a remarkable mother who has turned her grief into positive energy in order to help a country's children