Filmmakers, community thanked for helping ALS awareness

Dec. 20, 2010 at 6:20 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

I am sure the readers of this message will think that the Victoria Advocate is tooting its own horn. I hope they still publish this word of thanks knowing that I am under no compulsion to do so, nor am I an employee of the same. However, on behalf of the local, national and international communities of ALS patients: A tip of the hat to the Victoria Advocate for what was done in the production of the documentary film "Breadth of Hope."

Thanks first to Chris Cobler, the Victoria Advocate editor, who recognizing the need for awareness of the plight of ALS patients everywhere (especially right here in Victoria). Because he allowed the time and offered encouragement to Intern Videographer Drew Stewart and Reporter Erica Rodriguez to work on the documentary, "Breadth of Hope" was created.

I also would like to thank Drew Stewart for work he did, considering the 45 hours of filming, cutting that to 85 minutes and producing the film. Thanks also to Erica Rodriguez who started the whole thing with her excellent reporting of news in our community, plus her time spent with filming, asking just the right questions at the right times and helping Drew. These young people give me hope and restore my faith in the coming generation. I am proud of them and grateful I know them as individuals. The work they did, the time they spent, the love and care they had for those with ALS is phenomenal and greatly appreciated. Their effort has greatly increased the awareness of the plight of three ALS patients, their families, caregivers, support groups, faith communities and future patients here in Victoria.

I am pleased to write that the message of "Breadth of Hope" will multiply far beyond Victoria in the days, months and possibly years ahead. Information about the film is now going out to be advertised across the nation and internationally as the following entities use it: ALS TDI (ALS Technical Development Institute - a group involved in the research for a treatment and cure), ALSA (ALS association - a group for research, clinics, help and support of ALS patients and caregivers), and MDA/ALS (Muscular Dystrophy Association/ALS - a group also providing research, clinics, help and support for ALS and the other 42 diseases related to Muscular Dystrophy).

And a tribute of praise and thanks for all those involved in the production of the movie itself: Doctors, therapists, support personal, caregivers, families of ALS and ALS patients themselves. Plus a debt of gratitude and appreciation for the many involved in the first "Stroll, Roll 'n' Run." This could not have been done without the whole community of Victoria's support and care.

On behalf of the local ALS/MND Support Group, I thank you all.

Bill Hassel, Victoria



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