Tuesday 13th August, 9pm, Channel 4
In December 2012, Sally Roberts went on the run with her seven-year-old son Neon, to prevent him receiving life-saving treatment for a brain tumour. The police appealed to the public for help to find them as the nation tried to understand why a mother would remove her critically ill son from the hospital’s care.
With exclusive access to the Roberts family, this Cutting Edge film charts this extraordinary story as both parents reveal their accounts of months spent in conflict over the life of their child.
Neon’s father Ben, speaks at length and for the first time about his experiences. He recalls the moment Sally and Neon disappeared: ‘My ex-wife had kidnapped my son, essentially, and gone underground with him at a time when he needed critical, urgent treatment.’ He also shares his relief that he was awarded custody by the high court to safe guard Neon from any further disruptions to his radiotherapy.
Sally goes back to the place where she hid with Neon in December and introduces the alternative therapy practitioner she trusted to treat her son. The film sees Sally continue her hunt for an elusive cancer cure that could spare her son the debilitating effects of Radiotherapy. Following her through the High Court to fight for her ‘human right’ to reject the recommended treatment, the documentary shows her disappointment when the judge rules against her, stating that chemotherapy and radiotherapy were the only available treatments that could save Neon’s life.
Director Sarah Burkeman, a friend of the family, started filming days after Sally Roberts was found in hiding. You’re Killing My Son: The Mum Who Went on the Run follows Sally’s legal battle and documents the painful disintegration of the relationships around her. At the heart of the story is Neon himself; a seven-year-old boy struggling to cope with cancer, family breakdown and debilitating medical treatment.
This film explores how, when faced by most parents’ worst nightmare, beliefs were shattered, relationships severed, and a world of alternative treatments was sought out when a little boy’s mother rejected conventional medicine.
Prod Co: Smoking Pony Productions
Prod/Dir: Sarah Burkeman
Exec Prod: David Modell
Comm Ed: Emma Cooper