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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

The Boy at the Heart of "Miracle at Manchester" was Sure He Would be Healed

This true story focuses on unwavering faith in God, support of community and the power of prayer.

Dean Cain and Eddie McClintock appear in a scene from "Miracle at Manchester."
Dean Cain and Eddie McClintock appear in a scene from "Miracle at Manchester." Image: JCFilms Studios.

Now a young man working on a graduate degree, Bryce Newman is worlds away from the California school boy who was battling brain cancer back in 2015. While he still deals with some side effects from that illness - challenges with his equilibrium and depth-perception - he is otherwise healthy and cancer free.

Rick and Bryce Newman pose for a recent picture together.
Rick and Bryce Newman pose together for a recent picture. Image: The Newmans/from Pure Publicity.

Miracle at Manchester, however, tells the story of his inspiring fight for life as a 15-year-old high school sophomore and two-sport athlete. The film, which will release exclusively on Pure Flix streaming platform, stars Kory Getman, as Newman, Eddie McClintock in the role of his father, Rick, and Christian actor Dean Cain as the boy's surgeon. Christian Film Blog caught up with father and son earlier this week for a phone interview about the movie and the health ordeal Bryce miraculously survived.

Nearly eight years removed from those events, Bryce is now 23 years old and currently earning a master's in sports management at Texas A&M University. But time and geography have not erased the memories of the grueling ordeal he faced as a teen in his hometown of San Diego, including multiple brain surgeries, a staph infection that nearly killed him, and temporary paralysis of his entire right side to name but a few.

Bryce, who like his father played football and baseball in high school, tells us that though he had to give up sports because of the cancer, they nonetheless proved useful in fighting the disease, and he applied some advice he got on the baseball diamond.

"My coaches always taught me to have a short memory whenever you have a bad plate appearance. And that's kind of like what my mindset was going through lying in the hospital: just have a short memory. Things are going to be bad for a little bit, but forget about it and move forward."

And that remained his outlook even after his first two surgeries in the Summer of 2015 were followed months later by the news that the tumors in his brain were back. The then teenager continued to lean on his Christian faith, placing his trust in the Lord.

"I knew it wasn't going to be much of a problem. I always had that confidence and that faith that God's got this, and I've just got to focus on doing what I can, but I know that He had the bigger picture."

It was a much different situation, however, for his father. Rick Newman recalls feeling like his "world just went crashing down" when he found out Bryce had cancer. Sleeping every night at the hospital for the better part of a year while his only child - whom he called his Mini-Me - underwent treatment, Rick would often take out his frustration by shouting at God.

"I'd be screaming at 2:00 AM when (Bryce) was asleep. I'd go to the back stairwell, the emergency stairwell, and I literally lost faith: I lost faith in God. I was madder than mad can be."

Bryce, on the other hand, was a rock in his Christian faith. He remained confident that, one way or the other, he would beat the disease.

"I knew I was going to be healed. Whether it was a miracle or not, I knew the healing was going to happen."

In an incredible scene that is featured in movie, God went the miraculous route.

Bryce Newman (in white) during the mass prayer for his healing.
Bryce Newman (in white) during the mass prayer for his healing. Image: Bryce Newman/from Facebook.

It took place in the stands of Manchester Stadium at Bryce's Cathedral Catholic High School. Wearing a white tee shirt, he was surrounded by nearly 1,800 fellow students in red, all of whom extended their hands and prayed for him to be healed.

Bryce tells Christian Film Blog that he was instantly "100 percent" certain that God worked a miracle that cured him of the cancer in his brain, adding that "during that prayer, (he) got this warm sensation," despite the fact that he was wearing shorts and it was a cool, overcast day.

"I guess it was like radiating within me, just that warm sensation that you get. I knew after that point that I was all good to go: I could just put cancer on the back burner and let God have that."

Having beaten the disease, Bryce later established a charity to help other children fighting it. The Miracle at Manchester Foundation aims to "connect every hospitalized child" with loved ones, friends and school by providing tablets during "long-term treatment for cancer." Thus far, Bryce and his organization have donated some 100 of the devices at two hospitals and have two more facilities about to join the program.

His father, Rick, who had his faith restored after Bryce's miraculous healing, says they are "just blessed" by God, adding that he is touched by how his son turned what looked like a disaster into a mission to help others confronting similarly dire circumstances: "It makes me proud that Bryce is giving back."

Miracle at Manchester releases on Pure Flix tomorrow, March 31st, and you can find out how to sign up for a trial of the streaming service via this link to its website. The trailer below will give you a better sense for the film, and if you would like to learn more about Bryce's charitable foundation or make a donation, you can do so through this link.


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