I recently viewed a remarkable movie, "The Greatest Showman." There was no violence and no adultery, but incredible music.
However, there was a small scandal. Years ago, those with disabilities had few options, so performing in a circus was better than nothing. I would suggest, if you have not seen the show, to go see it.
There are some high-quality TV shows and movies running right now. I especially like those that teach about disability.
I recall several school teachers seeking me out, about 25 years ago. They strongly encouraged me to watch a movie titled, “Lorenzo’s Oil.” So I borrowed “Lorenzo’s Oil.” It was a true story about a father and mother, Augusto and Michaela Odone, and their relentless search for a cure for their son Lorenzo’s disease.
Five-year-old Lorenzo was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a rare and incurable disease.
The story of the Odones’ persistence and faith leads to a cure, which saves their son. Their willpower re-writes medical history. I am grateful for the parents' determination to find a cure.
Several years before “Lorenzo’s Oil” was released, the movie “Rain Man” came out.
“Rain Man” is a story about Charlie, an abrasive, selfish wheeler-dealer, who discovers that his estranged father has died and left all of his multimillion-dollar estate to his other son, Raymond, an autistic savant.
Charlie had no idea Raymond existed.
Charlie is left with his father's car and a collection of rose bushes.
As the movie rolls on, Charlie finds himself $80,000 in the hole and hatches a plan to take Raymond to Las Vegas, and win money at blackjack by counting cards, one of Raymond's talents.
The casino bosses are skeptical that anyone can count cards with a six deck shoe, and they ask Charlie and Raymond to leave.
Thanks to Raymond’s skill, Charlie made enough to cover his debts.
In the final scene, Charlie sends Raymond back to his mental institution.
Prior to 1988, when the movie released, the only option for these children was a mental institution.
Another great motion picture was “Extraordinary Measures.”
This story is about John Crowley and his wife, Aileen, a Portland couple. Two of their three children suffer from Pompe disease, a genetic anomaly that typically kills most children before the child's 10th birthday.
John and Aileen raise money to help the research and the required clinical trials for their children’s disease.
This motivational film is about John and Aileen’s determination to develop a drug to save the lives of their children and battle the medical and corporate establishment, while racing against time for a cure.
I was impressed with their desire to locate and motivate some entity to work aggressively for more cures.
Last year, another amazing film was released, titled “Wonder.”
Without sharing too much, the film follows Auggie a fifth-grade boy living in New York.
Auggie has a rare medical facial deformity, which is identified as Treacher Collins syndrome. He had 27 surgeries.
Early in life, Auggie was homeschooled by his mother. But his parents decide to enroll Auggie in a private middle school. The film is about Auggie trying to fit in.
How I wish those with disabilities were more easily accepted.
I would also suggest watching the TV show, “The Good Doctor.” If you have not watched it, please do.
My final thought would be that we need more TV shows and movies that inspire, educate and motivate, because if they are produced, they will lead to additional research, further acceptance, and new funding. Thanks for listening.
-- Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.