What Love Is: The Duke Pathfinders 50

About This Episode


Somewhere between the successes of cancer treatment and its limitations is the person – the solitary individual whose medical needs may be tended, but whose needs for emotional support are overshadowed by the enormous, cumbersome, and unrelenting machine called cancer treatment. How does one navigate this foreign land with its whole new language and unfamiliar customs to find quiet peace and healing? What Love Is: The Duke Pathfinders 50 offers direction.

The documentary explores the lives of 50 women undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the Duke Cancer Center in Durham, North Carolina, and their experience with the Pathfinders cancer support program. Created by social worker Tina Staley, the Pathfinders program – a philosophy, really – provides cancer patients with beneficial skills, such as visualization and meditation, essential to successfully cope with a life-threatening illness. Each patient is paired with a social worker who acts as a guide, and together, they embark as “pathfinders” toward discovering the patient’s own sense of balance, spirituality, support, and self-care, in an effort to alleviate emotional suffering.