STROUDSBURG, Pa. - A brave film director who is battling a rare form of brain cancer is spreading the message of hope in his work.
Thirty-six-year-old Wilfredo Aqueron of Stroudsburg, says he's always had a passion for filmmaking, but only decided to seriously follow his dream after being diagnosed with Diffuse Pontine Glioma in June 2008.
It's a rare form of terminal brain cancer which mainly affects children.
"I didn't believe what I had and I was saying to myself 'it can't be, there's no way. There's 100 cases per year. Why me?'" he said.
"They gave me one year in the beginning. Then they moved it to best case scenario two years and now, every time I see my doctors, they give me a hug and say 'wow, you're still here?!" he said.
Six years later, the brain tumor which is basically untreatable has remained the same, allowing Wilfredo to live a normal life for the most part.
So, he's decided to make the most of it by starting with his work in independent filmmaking and leaving something behind for his children.
"I'm going to build a legacy, something if they feel they need to learn more about me, they can look and do research. It's going to be available for them," he said.
Aqueron has done a number of short films and is currently in the final phases of finishing a horror flick he filmed in Allentown in only four days.
As a result of that experience he filmed a documentary called "Filming to Survive" due to be released by the end of the summer.
"It was a long week and I wasn't feeling that good because of my condition but we did it," he said.
Now, Aqueron hopes his work will help leave a legacy--not only for his three children, but for the rest of us to pursue our dreams.
"I want them to know that they can do whatever they want. My kids, I tell them every day, you want to do this? Go ahead, plan and do it. Don't think twice. It is possible," he said.
Aqueron, who was enlisted in the U.S. Army but is now undeployable due to his condition, is also working on a project to help motivate wounded soldiers.
Allentown, PA 18102