Elk Grove’s self-proclaimed “Not-Dying Girl,” Lauren McCullough, is the subject of a new documentary airing on KVIE this month. The film chronicles her experience with a rare childhood cancer that took her life five years ago.
Capital Public Radio’s Beth Ruyak co-produced the documentary. The “Insight” host interviewed McCullough four days before she passed away on Feb. 2, 2014.
A free premiere screening of “The Not-Dying Girl” was held on Jan. 30 at the Crest Theatre. KVIE Channel 6 will broadcast the film three times: Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 8, at 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 10, at 6:30 p.m.
Following the Feb. 6 airing, the film will be posted on KVIE’s website, www.kvie.org.
McCullough was an Elk Grove native who attended John Ehrhardt Elementary School and Harriet Eddy Middle School before entering Laguna Creek High School.
Named Laguna Creek’s 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, she earned eight varsity letters in swimming, water polo, cross-country and wrestling. She still holds two of her high school’s swimming records.
One month after graduating high school, McCullough was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in her leg. She told the Citizen that she first starting feeling the pain during her vacation in Hawaii.
McCullough later underwent nine months of treatment, including 17 rounds of chemotherapy and 31 radiation treatments. At the end of her treatment, she was declared “cancer-free.” Less than a year later, she was able to attend Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.
Even in the midst of painful cancer treatments, McCullough was able to attend the 2012 Summer Olympics swimming trials, thanks to the Kids Wish Network, a charity that grants wishes to children and teens suffering from life-threatening illness. In 2012, she also met Olympians Summer Sanders and Conor Dwyer.
She started a blog and began speaking at a cancer event for Diablo Valley. She was on two radio programs with Capitol Public Radio, one of which was four days before she died at the age of 21. Diablo Valley posthumously inducted her into its hall of fame.
“She enjoyed life and always being positive,” her mother Deanne told the Citizen in 2014. “And she wanted to be remembered as not being a Negative Nancy.’”
For more information about McCullough and “The Not-Dying Girl,” visit www.ruyakmedia.com.