|NASA photo, March 16, 1966: "Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, command pilot of the Gemini-8 spaceflight, sits in the Launch Complex 16 trailer during suiting up operations for the Gemini-8 mission. Suit technician Jim Garrepy assists."|
"No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear." – C. S. Lewis
The film starts almost immediately depicting what would become the cruelest loss in Armstrong’s life: the illness and death of his toddler daughter, Karen. In mid-1961, according to Hansen’s biography, Karen – not yet aged two – was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer that was growing mid-brain stem. The particular cancer, a glioma, still carries a high rate of mortality even at present time. Despite a brief improvement after radiation treatment (which is depicted in all of its torturous, early 1960s reality in First Man), Karen’s health declined; in January 1962, Neil’s “Muffie” (his nickname for her) died of pneumonia, only six months following her diagnosis.
|NASA image, July 20, 1969: "Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, descends the ladder of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) prior to making the first step by man on another celestial body."|