Be Here Now - The Andy Whitfield Story


Have you ever seen Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the show about Gladiators starring John Hannah, Lucy Lawless and Andy Whitfield? If you did, you might know that Andy - who played the role of Spartacus - sadly passed away last September from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

I can't actually define what affects me so about Andy Whitfield's death. People die all the time, but some deaths affect me more than others. I loved S: BAS from the outset - it's a violent show with lots of action, nudity and sex scenes - right up my alley as a viewer. There was something mesmerising about Andy, something immeasurable - he was a star, pure and simple. He shone in the role and I thought he had a bright future ahead of him. To my mind, he WAS the show. Some performances from actors just wash over you and make no impression, but Andy's work made its mark on me, a testament I think to the heart and soul he put into the role.

When I found out Andy had died I was upset, as any loss of talent weighs heavy on my heart. Because I can imagine how distraught I'd be if my husband died, I felt for Andy's wife and kids. As the months went on I thought about Andy every time I was reminded about S: BAS, which was often as I saw re-runs advertised in my Sky TV planner on an almost daily basis.

A couple of months ago I became aware of a fund-raising campaign to raise money to tell Andy's story in a documentary. Film-makers had followed Andy since his diagnosis, and the money the campaign needed was to ensure the documentary came to fruition. I'm very proud to say I am one of 5,265 backers who have funded the heartbreaking and inspirational story of Andy's final weeks and months. Initially, the campaign asked for a total of $200,000. It actually raised $302,810 by the time the deadline closed, which was earlier today.

Here's a trailer for the documentary:

I've watched it a few times over and it never fails to make me cry. There is a quote in the clip which touches me deeply.

"In my heart, I'm convinced that this is all meant to be ... And I'm open to the journey and to the discoveries and to the adventure of all of this. 'Be here now' is all about being present and not fearing what you don't know."

What an inspirational man to have said that in the face of terminal illness. R.I.P to Andy and all those taken too soon.

I will be keeping an eye out for developments to do with the documentary and you can check yourself here

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