A fundraising campaign has been launched to release a documentary telling the story of Andy Whitfield, the star of hit TV show Spartacus: Blood and Sand, who was struck down by cancer.

Whitfield, 39, was in peak physical condition and had landed his first starring role in the successful Starz series in 2010 when he was was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma shortly after filming the first season.

He immediately started treatment, with the show's second season being delayed until he made his expected recovery. However, despite being declared cancer free two months after diagnosis, the illness returned. Whitfield died on 11 September, 2011.

During his fight against the disease, Whitfield and his wife, Vashti, decided to allow a camera crew to film his struggle, as he travelled around the world trying different treatments, in the hope that it would inspire others who find themselves in a similar situation.

The documentary Be Here Now portrays the couple's journey, with its title reflecting their mantra to appreciate the present.

In order for final editing of the documentary to take place, the fundraising site Kickstarter is seeking to raise a total of $200,000 (£130,000) by 23 July.

"It was Andy's hope that by opening his story up to a documentary, he might help or inspire others facing similar challenges, while pushing to accelerate the pace of cancer research around the world," a spokesman for the project said.

"What he did not anticipate was that the story would also capture his and his family's determination, love, infectious humour and self-affirming attitudes, as everyone goes through their own transformations over the course of the film. Be Here Now transcends the subject of cancer and becomes a universal life lesson about living fearlessly, going for your dreams, embracing each moment and living in the present - despite the potential outcome."

The campaign has already raised $82,632 through its fundraising page.