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About the Film

Switching the Summit is a short documentary film about the limitations of childhood cancer research which focuses on the stories of Alec Ingram and Elizabeth Weidner, both of whom experienced pediatric cancer. It is also an introduction to the Keep Climbing Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds and awareness for cancer research and other causes.

Alec Ingram was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2015 at the age of 11. During the course of his chemotherapy treatment, he developed cardiomyopathy and other serious complications. Despite overcoming numerous heart surgeries and fighting bravely, the fun-loving and passionate Ingram passed away at the young age of 14. In the film, Alec’s parents Jen and Chris Ingram share their story of learning their son’s diagnosis and what it was like to undergo this life-changing moment.

Elizabeth Weidner’s story also involves her painful battle with childhood cancer—though Weidner is one of the fortunate survivors who lived to tell her story. The founder of “Crowns Fight Cancer,” Weidner uses her pageant crowns to spread awareness of pediatric cancer. Alongside the Foundation, Weidner continues to serve as a powerful advocate for childhood cancer patients and their families. Switching the Summit shares her powerful story of resiliency and giving back, in her own words.

Shockingly, most children with cancer continue to be treated by drugs that were developed in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. In fact, there’s been just three new drugs approved by the FDA in the last 20 years to specifically treat childhood cancer, compared to the more than 185 new drugs approved to treat adult cancer types over the same time period.*

“Nothing about pediatric makes biologic sense. No child should get cancer,” says Dr. Lauren Draper, who works in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology department of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. In the film, Dr. Draper points out that parents often ask her how and why their children ended up with cancer—and she says it’s very, very rare that she is able to give them an answer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, only 4% of the federal budget for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer. And our Foundation wants to help change that. Watch Switching the Summit[LINK] to learn more about the kids we’re fighting for, what we do, and how you can get involved.

*SOURCE: American Childhood Cancer Association

Meet the Cast

Alec Ingram

Alec Ingram is the inspiration behind the Keep Climbing Foundation. He was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at age eleven and fought the disease bravely until the end. Alec loved animals and sports cars, and his final wish—to have exotic cars at his funeral procession—was granted by more than 2,000 people who traveled across the country to lay him to rest in 2019.

The Team Alec Forever Foundation is named in his memory and helps ease end of life expenses for families of children with terminal cancers—meaning Alec is still changing the world to this day.

Jen and Chris Ingram

Jen Ingram and Chris Ingram are Alec’s loving parents and pediatric cancer activists. They are the founders of the Team Alec Forever Foundation and are tireless advocates for children and families affected by pediatric cancer. Through their advocacy and fundraising, they are fighting to ease the suffering of families across the country.

Elizabeth Weidner

Elizabeth Weidner is a pageant queen, a motivational speaker, and so much more. The founder of Crowns Fight Cancer and Miss Central Illinois Outstanding Teen 2020, Weidner uses the pageant stage to bring much-needed attention to childhood cancer and the need for more federal funding.

Dr. Lauren Draper, MD

Dr. Lauren Draper, MD works in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology department of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, where she specializes in pediatric cancer care. Her areas of expertise include cancer pain management, childhood solid tumors, adolescents and young adults with cancer, and pediatric palliative care. In her practice, she provides services for a range of conditions that include cancerous and non-cancerous blood disorders; lymphoma; ovarian tumors; bone tumors; and soft tissue sarcomas. Dr. Draper also provides bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, cancer risk assessment and counseling, and palliative care services.

She is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology, at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Dr. Draper is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Pediatric Hematology, and the Children’s Oncology Group. Her research interests are in pediatric palliative care and clinical ethics.

Meggie Hilbert, BSN, RN

Meggie Hilbert, BSN, RN works in Oncology & Hematology at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. She is a recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, which honors nurses internationally in memory of J. Patrick Barnes.

Meet the Filmmakers

Ryan Kelley Director, producer

Ryan Kelley is the President of the Keep Climbing Foundation as well as one of its founders. He founded The Home Loan Expert, one of the nation’s fastest-growing mortgage companies. When he’s not climbing mountains for charity, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

Robby Boyd Cinematography & color

Robby Boyd is a self-taught documentary filmmaker in Austin, Texas. You can find him at Robby Boyd Film.

Ryan Girard Editing, sound design, & animations

Ryan Girard has been directing and editing commercials, music videos, and short films for over eight years. With a focus on automotive and narrative content, his work has earned him Emmys, Addy’s, and other awards. Ryan thrives on creating visually-intriguing stories that stick with an audience. You can find his work at here.

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