Empathy over Pity

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The most impacting part of the film for me was the portrayal of the progression of Jason’s Multiple Sclerosis. The same way that we can’t imagine our grandparents as anything but old, it’s hard to look at someone in a wheelchair or with a debilitating illness and see ourselves, just a few steps earlier. Being disabled seems so far removed from the picture of health I am now, but it doesn’t have to be. Things completely out of one’s control- one car crash, one genetic mutation, one inherited allele- can bring disability upon a completely healthy person. That’s scary, but it relates the importance of not distancing ourselves too much from people with disabilities, having empathy win over sympathy or pity. Jason was a completely healthy filmmaker who acquired Multiple Sclerosis; it could have been any of us.

My next door neighbor also recently developed multiple sclerosis and when I saw her at events and neighborhood gatherings, I didn’t know what to say. So I just didn’t say anything. MS seemed like such a vague disease, and I had no idea what she was going through because she had the outward appearance of normalcy, for the most part. She and her husband recently had to move to a one-story house, the reasons for which I can now understand so much better after seeing the documentary and Jason’s struggle with stairs/ overall movement.

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