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A reel take on Lou Gehrig's disease

“It’s amazing how adaptable we are when we have to be. It’s what separates us and defines us as human beings.”


Stills from the film I Am Breathing

These are some of the last words of a young man called Neil Platt, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurons Disease, also known as ALS, ELA, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Platt’s struggle with the incurable disease was captured in the award-winning film, I Am Breathing, also the official selection at the ongoing Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), 2013, and will be screened all over the world as part of the Global Awareness Day today.

So far, around 110 screenings have been finalised, one of which will take place today at the Whistling Woods in Goregaon. The global screening will kick start with the film’s premiere at the EIFF.

The disease is incurable and could affect any young person, but very few are aware of this. Directed by Emma Davie & Morag McKinnon, I am Breathing captures Platt and his family’s struggle with the incurable disease. How Platt, the father to a 10-month-old boy and proud husband of Louise, was forced to resort to a wheelchair after his body, below the neck got paralysed when he was 33.

The ordeal that followed could break any man’s will to live, but instead of being demoralised Platt led a mission to make people aware of the disease by sharing his story through his blog, The Plattitude. He also collaborated in filming his struggle with the Lou Gehrig’s disease, which led to the documentary film I Am Breathing.

After a struggle that lasted 14 months, Platt passed away on June 21, 2009, but he left a mission for his friends and supporters to finish, and that was to
create awareness about the disease. Now, to salute his life, and take his mission forward, people around the world will be screening the film to create awareness about the disease.

The documentary film is available for download from the website www.iambreathingthefilm.com for those who wish to organise a private screening for up to 20 people after paying a small fee of £10 (Rs 925). The proceeds will go towards creating awareness about the disease. In India, the film will also be screened at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University and a private home screening in New Delhi.

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