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The New NormalThe New Normal
Life After Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant

EMMY Award-Winning Documentary Offers Hope and Help for Transplant Patients, Families and Caregivers

Now in new DVD Format

“Webisodes” of the New Normal are now available on YouTube: www.youtube.com/nbmtlink.

Stewart Francke isn't singing a new song. But when the Detroit-area songwriter straps on his guitar and takes the stage this summer, there are nights when it still feels new.

Stewart Francke underwent a lifesaving bone marrow transplant less than three years ago. During his recovery from the treatment it was sometimes difficult to imagine himself back in the spotlight, moving a crowd with his inspirational songs. "I had to learn to write and sing and play the instruments I had played since I was 15 years old," Francke says. "But within a year following my transplant I was performing again and our group is doing concerts just like before."

For Francke and the other bone marrow/stem cell transplant recipients featured in the documentary film The New Normal, every day since their transplant is a gift. The New Normal celebrates that gift of life while looking at the bone marrow/stem cell transplant process through the eyes and voices of survivors, caregivers, doctors and nurses.

The nbmtLink is a non-profit organization whose goal is to serve bone marrow/stem cell transplant patients and their families, friends and caregivers by providing education and support.

"We hope The New Normal will help reduce people's fears by providing greater understanding and encouragement," says Myra Jacobs, executive director and founder of the nbmtLink.

When told that a bone marrow transplant may offer their only hope for survival, many prospective transplant recipients experience feelings similar to those described by former General Motors Corporation Vice Chairman Harry Pearce in the film: "I did what any tough-minded, strong-willed executive might do," Pearce says. "I fainted. I fell dead to the floor."

"You feel you are in a unique situation," Jacobs says about the decision to create a film devoted to the bone marrow/stem cell transplant experience. "There's so much to be gained from knowing what to expect."

While bone marrow/stem cell transplant is still a medical procedure that involves a substantial risk, the advances made since the first human transplant in 1968 have been no less than miraculous. "A bone marrow transplant, in many diseases, offers the only hope of cure for that disease," explains transplant specialist Lyle L. Sensenbrenner, MD.

Still, despite the remarkable strides in treatment, the idea of a bone marrow transplant is understandably overwhelming. It is a life-changing experience, one that all survivors refer to in one way or another as the start of a second life: "a new normal."

The New Normal looks at the bone marrow/stem cell transplant procedure in three parts:

  • Part One examines the challenge: six transplant recipients from all walks of life tell how they dealt with the news that a bone marrow transplant could be their only hope for life. Part One also offers practical advice on how to choose the right transplant team, how to deal with financial concerns, and the reactions patients can expect from friends and family.
  • Part Two looks at the transplant process itself: what patients can expect once they enter the hospital.
  • Part Three shows the recovery process and the joy experienced by patients and their families as they regain their new, normal lives.

This 45-minute film is a powerful resource for prospective bone marrow transplant recipients, caregivers, and health care professionals. As it gives an unflinching view of the realities of the transplant process, The New Normal shows the heights to which the human spirit can soar with a little faith and the support of family, friends, and caring professionals. The New Normal was produced by Academy Award-winning Sue Marx Films and originally underwritten by the General Motors Corporation. In recognition of its contribution, the film has received an EMMY award. The Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences selected The New Normal to recognize its outstanding achievement.

Myra Jacobs, who was on hand during the award ceremonies at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan on June 9, 2002, said: "We couldn't be prouder of this wonderful accomplishment. Along with thanking the General Motors Corporation and Sue Marx Films, Inc., we are grateful to the many volunteers who helped make this film a reality. Now it will be our goal to make copies of The New Normal available to patients, caregivers, families and health professionals who are faced with the challenge of bone marrow/stem cell transplant."

For more information on the services offered by the nbmtLink, including patient education, resource guides and peer support, or to find out how you can help, please feel free to contact us.

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