A young Winnipeg woman is making her filmmaking debut at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival with a story about her battle with cancer and her efforts to walk again.
Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill's short film, Yes I Can, will be screened on Thursday evening at the Globe Cinema as part of the festival's Manitoba Filmmakers Night.
The film, which she wrote and directed, started out as a play she began working on while undergoing treatment for leukemia.
"To cope with cancer, writing was something that helped get me through the day," she told CBC News on Wednesday.
"It was very inspirational to me and others as well."
When Simpson-Yellowquill was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 14, doctors told her she would never be able to walk again.
"The doctor said I had neuropathy, which is a dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves. The nerves in my feet, they were basically gone," she explained in the film.
The teen was confined to a wheelchair for nine months and she couldn't attend school while going through chemotherapy.
Simpson-Yellowquill started writing the play to earn her drama credit, and she later turned it into a screenplay.
In Yes I Can, Simpson-Yellowquill's character overcomes her cancer and works on regaining her ability to stand and walk. It ends with her running down a street.
"I keep working every day on it because I'm not going to let the doctors tell me something. I wanted to prove them wrong, and that's why I wrote this screenplay," said Simpson-Yellowquill, who has been cancer-free for almost two years.
"After going through something so terrible, like everything good is going now and it goes so well for me," she added.
"It was worth going through the three years of cancer and all that stuff because, like, it showed me a new side to myself."