Post Mortems

Chasing Life EP Explains April's Big Reveal, Previews Her Future With Leo

Chasing Life

April’s family finally learned the truth about her cancer diagnosis on Tuesday’s Chasing Life — even if the big reveal wasn’t entirely in April’s control.

RELATED Chasing Life Scoop: Devious Maids Star Tom Irwin Cast as April’s Father

Below, showrunner Sean Smith gives TVLine a peek at the rest of Season 1, including April’s budding romance with Leo and further complications — like whether or not she wants to have children.

TVLINE | So… that was a huge episode.
[Laughs] Yeah, this was a really big episode. Since we run in cycles of 10, this was kind of our midseason blow-out.

chasing-life-georgeTVLINE | Why have the secret forced out of her, rather than let April decide on her own?
It was really to demonstrate her denial. What’s so interesting about this show is that it’s not just someone dealing with cancer; it’s a young person dealing with cancer. When you’re in your early twenties, you feel invincible, like nothing bad is going to happen to you. That’s demonstrated in April’s decision to not confront it and to keep it a secret as long as she could. After this episode, it really becomes a bigger issue with her having to accept that this is her life now. She’s going to have make choices that most people her age won’t have to make.

TVLINE | I know April doesn’t want her whole life to be about her cancer, but it sounds like that’s happening, whether she likes it or not.
Absolutely. There’s one element coming up that we’re really excited about. Before April starts chemo, Leo tells her it can render her infertile, so at 24, she’s having to make this decision: Before she starts chemo, does she want to have kids someday? Should she freeze her eggs? More than just in her work life, she’s trying to keep whatever future she can open before it’s compromised by the aggressive treatment she needs.

TVLINE | Oh, wow. So it’s just hitting her in every aspect of her life.
And also in her love life. Leo informs her of that information, which will only bond them more, given the shared cancer.

Chasing Life AprilTVLINE | Are we talking a full-blown love triangle here?
It heads in that direction, and as long as she’s still keeping her secret from Dominic, it’ll continue to threaten their relationship, which she’s very much into. But then it’s Leo who she connects with and who can understand her best. They have to confront their mortality together.

TVLINE | The name Chasing Life sounds much more positive than Terminales, the Mexican show it’s based on. Was that a conscious effort on your part, to make it more hopeful?
Oh, absolutely. We took that off the table pretty quickly. It would be all YOLO all the time, and I didn’t know how to have seasons upon seasons of that experience. Then, the more we talked to people who have dealt with cancer for years and years, that‘s the journey we got excited about — not just about the death side of things.

TVLINE | Moving forward, which of April’s family members is going to have the strongest — and maybe the most surprising — reaction to her being sick?
I think Brenna is the one who has the biggest reaction. We had such a strong first impression of Brenna with her acting out in the pilot, but then she found out and continued to keep April’s secret. She’ll learn how to be strong for April. We really start to explore their deeper sisterhood, which is nice. It brings a different dynamic to their relationship.

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  1. Ing says:

    I absolutely adore this show! Being 25, it really hits close to home. Finally a show I can sort of relate to, altho I do not have cancer. I hope it sticks around! I definitely want to see where this goes.

  2. Sparky says:

    I know this was a big episode but I found April and Brennas argument last week and April telling her that she has cancer more lump in the throat and tears shed moment than tonight’s episode for some reason….strange. Really like the show…great dynamic between all the cast makes it very enjoyable.

    • johnhelvete says:

      i agree. I felt the scene with Brenna was more dramatic due to April revealing she had cancer during an argument. Not saying that the scene tonight was not good though, just not as powerful. It was actually April’s reaction to her mom trying to take over April’s options in regards to treatment that I was probably more moved by than the actual telling her mom and grandma she had cancer.

  3. EL says:

    I was incredibly skeptical of this show when I first saw the previews and the articles and then I was sick last week and there was a marathon ABC Family and I got hooked. I dont have cancer, but I have an autoimmune disease and have been on chemo for the last 15 years of my life; diagnosed when I was 17 years old and only went into remission in January of this year, at 32years old. And even though my illness is in remission, 17 years on medication has basically destroyed my body and I am now working hard to put it all back together again.

    I like how they’re approaching all angles of having an illness; everything from home life, work and dating. I am also very interested in how the show will handle April and her fertility issues, because when I was 17, freezing eggs wasnt an option and you had to freeze embryo’s. I was asked if I wanted to go into that process, which I said no. And then at 24 I had to have a hysterectomy, as the side effects of my chemo caused cysts throughout my body and I was then truly infertile. My Mom was adopted and to me, my illness was a pretty clear sign that I was meant to adopt. The conversations April and her best friend had about dating and what you have to tell men about your illness, have been almost verbatim to conversations I have had with my best friends over the years.
    I hope this show continues to be as well done as the first 4 episodes.

    • c-mo says:

      Congratulations on your remission, may it last a long, long time and you regain your health quickly!!!

      • EL says:

        Thank you for your kind thoughts! I’m making great progress and while I still get tired & have to rest, its nice to be feeling better!!! I am excited to start living life and be less on the sidelines!

    • CJ says:

      Wow, I am blown away by what you have had to endure. Congrats on being in remission, that’s such a huge thing.

      I’m glad to hear your perspective on the show as well. I’ve been curious as to how people who have undergone some of what April is dealing with are responding to it. What amazes me about the show so far is that people who have been sick and others who have been blessed with good health can both see themselves in April. As a 20-something who has enjoyed good health much of my life, I think I’d probably deal with such a serious diagnosis the way April has – denial.

      • EL says:

        Thank you for your well-wishes! I am excited to start living life more and more, though I am taking my time and going slowly to ensure I stay healthy!

        Im glad you relate to the show totally understand how you could see yourself going into denial. While at first, I had to deal with my illness immediately, as I was starting to go into kidney failure, there have been other times when I too went into denial. When I was 22, my doctors started to ween me off of the chemo and other medications, as they felt I was in remission. For about 6 months I felt great and started living more of a normal life, but I soon knew my illness was still active. For about two months I pretended I wasnt feeling they symptoms and really lived it up, but eventually I just knew, deep down, that if I didn’t tackle the issues head on I was only going to get worse. So I moved back in with my parents and resumed treatments. I am glad I gave myself a little time to just live, because I had no clue that I was going to spend the next 10 years dealing with so much.

        • CJ says:

          I’m truly amazed by your strength. Keep living life! Enjoy every minute.

          • EL says:

            Thank you CJ. You sweet words are so kind and I too am looking forward to enjoying life more and more each day! I hope you have a blessed life!

  4. c-mo says:

    I have absolutely no frame of reference for this show but I love it. It is refreshing to hear that the writers are addressing real topics that young people have to face. It is also nice to hear from those who have experienced this rocky road that the story rings true.

    The thing II enjoy the most about this show is that I don’t feel like a voyeur but like I’m part of April’s support system. The show makes me feel something other than pity, especially for April…and if I do feel bad for someone, it’s generally the mom or now George.

  5. we recently found out my dad has cancer, this show is really touching me, it’s probably one of the best show focusing a desease so intensly.
    I hope it will be renewd
    Greetings from Italy

    • EL says:

      Sending good thoughts to you, your father and your family. When someone is dx with cancer or illness, its often harder on the people close to them, then the person actually going through the treatment; so please make sure you take sometime to take care of yourself! Give yourself the time to grieve, go through the motions and ensure that you’re able to have a good outlet for your stress & worry.

  6. jackie says:

    i love this show, it is soo good! i really hope the april and leo connection goes on more, they are so cute together. the sexual tension is there lol and i love brenna and kieran, but i also kind of want her to be interested in greer too. greer and brenna are so cute

  7. Camilla says:

    I really loved reading this article. I too am a fan of this show but like others, it really hits me hard because I’ve been chronically ill since I was about 13 and I’m 25 now. I have a major kidney disease that cannot be cured, chronic migraines, and I’ve had 2 infectious diseases which both reacted like chronic illnesses, with symptoms that I still suffer from. Nothing I have is technically as bad as most forms of cancer, but I completely understand April’s denial and feeling of anxiety. I’m constantly paranoid that even though I’m relatively functioning now, that I’ll get worse again and have another set back. I have had so many setbacks in my life too. I actually feel jealous of her that she didn’t find out she was sick until after college, but hey, it’s just TV! I’ve had to take so much longer getting through school because of my illnesses, and I feel like so many of my hopes and dreams for the future have been pushed aside due to my lack of energy. I know exactly how she feels when she feels scared. I feel like us out there watching the show that are chronically ill can related. I’m really glad there is a TV show like this on the air. Even though it is about cancer and not a relatively unknown disease, so many people do not understand what it means to be chronically ill. I was saddened to see comments online from people that they thought it looked really badly done but I can related to practically everything they have written so far. The actress, Italia, is doing an amazing job.