Local Cancer Patient's Life Brought To Big Screen - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Local Cancer Patient's Life Brought To Big Screen


By Nicole Ferguson 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tyler Doughtie lost his bout with cancer in 2005, but the 9 year old's ability to inspire never died. 

"His smile was infectious," said Tyler's father, Patrick Doughtie. "He touched everyone around him." 

This week people across the country will have the chance to see the Nashville boy's story. Patrick Doughtie co-authored and co-directed the book and film versions of "Letters to God," a story loosely based on his son's life and his impact on others. 

"A lot of screenwriters and industry people are going to be mad with me for saying this, but it was probably the easiest thing I've ever accomplished," said Doughtie in an interview prior to the film's Regal Green Hills Theatre premiere on Tuesday. 

In the film, Tyler's character writes a series of letters to God, letters that make it into the hands of a postman named Brady. Brady, played by actor Jeffrey S.S. Johnson, uses the letters to deal with his own vices, including losing his son to alcoholism. David Nixon of Facing the Giants and Fireproof co-directed with Doughtie. 

"The hope [is that the film] inspires not just the hope for those who are going through cancer, but it's also the hope for those who are left behind that there really are better days," said a choked up Doughtie. "There's more to this life and it includes God in that picture." 

Nashville became familiar with Tyler's story when a spotlight shined on PTO president, Julie Buchanan, who was sentenced and charged for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Granberry Elementary School. 

Part of the funds were to benefit Tyler. Buchanan was sentenced to 15 years in jail for money laundering, but her sentence was reduced. She was let out of jail last October after serving just short of three years. It's a dim topic Doughtie does not want associated with the film. 

Doughtie said he hopes the film inspires more cancer research and awareness. He said his letter to God would include one simple line. 

"I would thank him for the 9 1/2 years I got with my son," said Doughtie, holding back tears. 

The nationwide release of the film is Friday. 

E-mail: nferguson@newschannel5.com

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