I’d been chomping at the bit to watch the documentary titled Jim Allison: Breakthrough since I first found out about Nobel Prize winner Allison in March of last year. Enthralled by this modern-day hero, I wrote a blogpost about him for the We Are The World Blogfest (WATWB) in April, 2019.

In case you don’t know, the WATWB is a group of bloggers seeking to promote positive news. “There are many an oasis of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit,” writes Damyanti Bismas, one of the founders, “Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.”  

On November 29, I spread the good news that the documentary would be released to the general public on Christmas Eve. When Christmas Eve arrived, I bought the film from Amazon for $9.99 (the rental cost for a one-time viewing is $4.99.)

The film plays more like a well-plotted movie than a documentary. Similar to a braided essay, several different threads are masterfully woven together. Jim’s personal life, and how it impacted his research. His scientific work, rife with creative discoveries and seemingly insurmountable challenges. His harmonica playing with the Red Headed Stranger. The roadblocks he faced even after the application of his amazing scientific breakthrough, where he discovered a way to give the immune system the go-ahead to combat cancer tumors. His discovery created a deep sea change in the way the world combats cancer, and earned him a Novel Prize for Medicine in 2018.

So many moments in the documentary tug at your heartstrings. Sharon Belvin, the grad student suffering from terminal cancer whose very last hope was Jim’s medicine. Jim, watching so many family members dying of cancer and fighting it himself. Jim meeting Sharon.

Jim developed his philosophy of telling the truth no matter how hard it hurts back in high school. Paddled by a beloved teacher who believed in creationism, and bullied for expressing his honest, scientific opinion about the topic, he states: “That’s the way it is, you know? If you don’t believe in something, you need to stand your ground. That’s the way it is. If it hurts, it hurts.”

Thanks, Jim, for standing your ground and transforming the hurts into amazing science that led to thousands of peoples’ cures. Thanks for being driven and never giving up. Thanks for your brilliance and empathy.


The documentary is receiving rave reviews. In the words of Al Alexander of The Patriot Ledger, “The Nobel speaks for Allison’s extraordinary success. The movie speaks for the extraordinary man behind it.” In the words of Ann Hornaday, writer for The Washington Post: “Just see the dang thing. You won’t regret it, and you’ll never forget it.”

We Are The World Blogfest - In Darkness, Be Light

At the end of each month, we bloggers are given an opportunity to post good news, offering an antidote to bad news in our feeds. The talented co-hosts for this month are: Sylvia Stein, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, Mary Giese and myself, Lizbeth Hartz. Please check out the blogs and say hello.


Lizbeth Hartz is the author of the true crime, true love memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawaii, A True Story. Get it on Amazon or sign up to read the 1st chapter free.

9 Comments

  1. Debbie D. on January 31, 2020 at 6:49 am

    A true hero, indeed! Amazing that Jim himself beat cancer three times. Most people have been affected by this insidious disease in one way or another. It’s encouraging to know that Jim and his co-winner have made these breakthroughs. I’ll definitely watch the documentary. Thanks for the details.

  2. Lizbeth Hartz (from my Angel Hero page) on January 31, 2020 at 7:28 am

    I agree, Debbie:) Thanks for reading and commenting and I agree, it’s so encouraging to know that help for this heartbreaking disease has been discovered.

  3. susan scott on January 31, 2020 at 11:48 am

    I remember reading your blog post Lizbeth from a few months ago and watching the trailer. Yes, a man who stands his ground and who saves lives in the process? A true gem. Thank you for this great #WATWB post and for co-hosting. Have a great weekend.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on February 3, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Thank you, Susan Scott, for reading and commenting, and you’re welcome, it’s a joy for me to be part of this great initiative. I hope you had a great weekend, too:)

  4. Shilpa Garg on February 3, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Jim’s life story is so inspiring. He is a true hero, will check out your earlier post on him and the documentary too. Thanks for sharing about him ♥

  5. Inderpreet Uppal on February 5, 2020 at 10:08 am

    A noble prize winner! Such good work fighting cancer. He is giving hope to so many. Thank you for supporting #WATWB
    https://inderpreetuppal.com/sharing-a-smile-watwb/

    • Lizbeth Hartz on February 5, 2020 at 10:42 am

      Thanks for writing, Inderpreet. Yes, isn’t he amazing and wonderful? You’re welcome and it’s lovely to be part of #WATWB:)

  6. Simon Falk on February 9, 2020 at 10:23 am

    What a really good story about Jim Allison, Lizbeth. Pity that Amazon over here does not yet have it. Thanks for sharing though.

    • Lizbeth Hartz on February 19, 2020 at 9:15 am

      Wow, I just saw this, Simon. I hope they have it now? Thanks for reading and commenting:)

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