By ARDEN BASTIA "I am not Glioblastoma. My name is Paul Bayne and I have Glioblastoma. I won't let this disease define me." Paul Bayne lived an extraordinary life. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2017, Bayne refused to be defined by
“I am not Glioblastoma. My name is Paul Bayne and I have Glioblastoma. I won’t let this disease define me.”
Paul Bayne lived an extraordinary life.
Diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2017, Bayne refused to be defined by his disease. His positive outlook and gratitude for life has been captured in the award-winning documentary “Living With the Odds.”
On Saturday night, friends, family and community members gathered in the Bishop Hendricken High School auditorium for the world premiere screening of “Living With the Odds.”
“My dad’s outlook on life was pretty special,” said Bayne’s youngest son, Luke, during the screening. “It’s applicable to everybody, we’re all living, and we’ll all die. He had a very positive outlook on life and really believed that the way to being happy was helping people.”
“Living With the Odds” follows Bayne through the initial diagnosis with Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive form of brain cancer, and in the year that follows. Once diagnosed, patients typically have seven to eight months to live, but Bayne survived for 27 months past his diagnosis, eventually passing in November 2019.
Bayne was a longtime Cranston resident before moving to Warwick in 2017. His three sons, Patrick, Ryan and Luke, all attended Bishop Hendricken High School.
“Living With the Odds” was Bayne’s “last big project of his life,” said Luke, who explained that the project originally started as a set of letters from Bayne to his sons. “He wanted to give us something to remember him by.”
Bayne kept writing letters, eventually transforming them into a book and then into a documentary with the help of his college friends who organized a GoFundMe to cover the costs of filming. They raised over $10,000 for the project.
“He always cared about it a lot, and to see his message on the big screen with all this support is really a beautiful thing,” said Luke.
Filmmaker Eric Meltvedt, who directed the documentary, said he was inspired to document Bayne’s journey and his optimistic outlook after reconnecting through Bayne’s brother, Richard.
“I wanted to capture what it was like to walk in Paul’s shoes by taking the viewer into his world to full experience the complexities of daily life,” Meltvedt said during the screening. “It was important to me that the audience not go numb or stop listening.”
“Living With the Odds” touches audiences deeply, bringing out both laughter and tears, and ultimately the inspiring message about living a beautiful life, despite a terminal illness.
The documentary has received accolades from around the world, winning awards in the United States, Sweden, Brazil, and Berlin, and won Best Documentary at the New York International and Hollywood Film Festivals.
“This film is living proof that living with a terminal illness is possible. This will offer hope and counsel, especially for those who have been recently diagnosed. There’s a learning curve,” said Charlie Benoit, a close friend and mentor to Bayne who attended the screening.
Benoit would know. He himself is a 10-year survivor of Glioblastoma.
Talk about living with the odds.
Benoit explained that for those with a GBM diagnosis “there is no such thing as remission, and in 99.9 percent of cases, the cancer returns, sometimes 10 to 15 years down the line.”
Benoit first connected with Paul through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Both men shared the same form of Glioblastoma; their cancer located in the occipital lobe, impacting their vision.
A year into his diagnosis, Benoit decided it was time to give support to others experiencing the same disease. For the past eight years, Benoit has served as a mentor for patients at the Dana-Farber Institute, the Imerman Angels in Chicago, and the Norwell Visiting Nurse Association on the South Shore of Massachusetts.
“With all the advancements we’ve made, the goal is to treat it as a chronic illness instead of a death sentence,” Benoit said.
That’s certainly what Bayne did.
“Living With the Odds” takes viewers to Bayne’s doctor’s appointments and radiation treatments, but also to family vacations at Yosemite National Park, and kayaking at the beach at Goddard Park.
“We have no guarantee that tomorrow will be there,” said Benoit. “We have to live life to the fullest. Paul’s an inspiration to me; he went all over the place, living his life. He got to live the life that he wanted.”
Bayne’s advice for a life well lived? “Do what you need to do to make the world a better place for somebody else,” he said, on screen.
To learn more about Bayne’s battle with cancer or to watch the “Living With the Odds” trailer, visit livingwiththeodds.com.