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Award Winner

Festival Season:

March 2024

My First Breath: The Story of Carl Gibson

My First Breath: The Story of Carl Gibson




Run Time:

Karen Shayne, Kiya Naka
Karen Shayne, Kiya Naka
Karen Shayne, Kiya Naka, Matthew Scott, Tyler Goins

Awarded for the following Category(s):

Awarded Category(s)

A Journey into the life of Carl Gibson; a man whose early struggles with substance abuse threatened to consume him. From experimenting with 'huffing gas' at age 10 to a harrowing battle with addiction that cost him his family, his support system, and his actual “life” (twice), Carl's story is one of resilience, redemption, and restoration. Today, he shares his lessons and life experience, revealing a man of unwavering faith and a mission to help others overcome addiction and rebuild. Discover the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity in this powerful documentary.

Submitter Statement

Producer, Publisher, Author and Advocate Karen Shayne spent most of her career in healthcare, but after a diagnosis of cancer, she reinvented herself and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to begin production creating award-winning healthcare segments for Nashville-based CBS and NBC. Karen has also been featured in HuffPost, AOL/Yahoo, People Magazine, Nashville Business Journal, Hope For Women Magazine The Doctors Channel, Healthline, and ABC Chicago. She also served as host of a radio show on Salem Media Network for Healthspring. 

In 2012, Karen's passion for advocacy created a 501c3 non-profit with the purpose of creating a network where women affected by cancer can find their voice, improve their quality of life, and embrace their journey. That mission has now led me to find incredible and inspiring stories that embrace the heart of humanity. Now she travels around the world to share those stories that inspire and motivate. 

Today, Karen focuses on publishing and production through her two passion projects Unconditionally Her and CO-XST. Unconditionally Her is a women-focused, positive lifestyle blog providing inspiration for those women desiring an extraordinary and purposeful life. CO-XST s a multimedia company developing content that intrigues curiosity, engages conversation, and inspires actions. Within our media landscape, CO-XST allows for a positive acceptance of individual stories and uses culture of influence to raise awareness about the importance of kindness, compassion and authentic living.



 Karen has been honored by the Ovarcome Foundation for national awareness of cancer issues among women. In 2014, Karen was honored in Washington DC by American Association of Cancer Research and featured in National Cancer Research Progress Report. In 2012, she served as American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network – Tennessee State Lead Representative Congressional District along with serving as Tennessee Cancer Coalition Survivorship Committee Chairperson. Karen was named 2011’s Health Care Hero by the Nashville Business Journal. She is also a member of the class 2011 of Leadership Middle Tennessee. Karen received the International Best of the Best Award by the Assisted Living Federation of America for her "On Modern Age" television show. Karen was the 2008 Nashville Business Journal Williamson County Impact Award winner; a 2009 Lifetime Television and L'Oreal Cosmetics "Women of Worth" nominee, and the recipient of the 2003 Small Business Council of America's "Humanitarian of the Year" Award. In 2001, Georgia State Senate honored her with her own Resolution for her efforts with cancer advocacy and research.

Key Cast

Carl Gibson, Penny Gibson, Nick Gibson, Angel Gibson, Regina Kennedy, Bill Hutchinson

Other Credits

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