Documentary about people with spinal cord injuries will educate, inspire

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Will2Walk’s newest project will feature interviews & discussions on health, medical procedures, and lifestyle issues post-injury

By Rebecca Wetherbee

Dealing with ongoing medical issues

When Rich Hamill underwent shoulder surgery last month, he knew he would have a long recovery ahead of him.

Originally, the doctors believed he’d have to spend eight weeks in physical therapy regaining his strength.  Because Rich is in a wheelchair, he already faces some obstacles to his mobility, so dealing with injuries to his arm and upper trunk can really slow him down.

As Rich prepared for his operation, he started thinking about all the potential injuries and health issues paraplegics face once they’re in the chair: muscle strain and tearing in the upper body, muscles spasms, phantom pain, blood clots in the legs, pressure sores, infections, incontinence, and others.  “Everyone has their own unique problems,” he said.

Making the most of recovery

Rich decided he wouldn’t let his recovery period go to waste. “I thought about how I could make it a positive,” he said, so he decided to take on a project that could educate and inspire other people with spinal cord injuries as well as their friends and family.

He reached out to Gregg Elder, Assistant Professor of Digital Film at Grand Canyon State University. Elder put together a team to develop a documentary about the health and fitness struggles people face after their spinal cord injuries.

Setting the project in motion

The documentary will be a series of interviews with several survivors of spinal cord injuries—Rich hopes to interview as many as ten—and a roundtable discussion about the ongoing health obstacles they face and the financial impact of their medical bills. “This is why you need to take care of your bodies after your injury and stay in shape,” Rich said, citing his own $25,000 surgical bill.

It will also include footage of Rich in his physical therapy sessions, and chronicle some of his interactions with health insurance agencies.

So far, Rich and the film students have recorded two interviews and about 30 hours of footage, showing “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of living in a chair.  He is in the process of fundraising for the rest of the film so he can cover material costs and some travel expenses for out-of-state participants.

How you can help

Would you like to be a part of this important project? Your donation to Will2Walk will help fund the completion of Will2Walk’s documentary and advance the quality of information available to people with spinal cord injuries, their friends, and families across the country.

Won’t you please make a donation today?

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