Award-winning Filmmakers Launch Fundraiser to Support Kids with Disabilities
The subjects of the multi-award-winning film I'll Push You are using their 500-mile wheelchair journey as a catalyst to send children with disabilities to Muscular Dystrophy Association Summer Camp.
NEW YORK, NY, Monday, January 17 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), alongside Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, announced a fundraiser launching today and running through January 30, by making their award-winning film I'll Push You available for a virtual nationwide screening. Tickets and donations will go towards sending 500 kids ages 8-17 living with neuromuscular diseases to MDA Summer Camp. To purchase tickets from $15 to $150 packages, click here. Donations can also be made directly here.
The heartwarming film I'll Push You is the story of Justin and Patrick, best friends who completed a 500-mile wheelchair journey across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago. Justin lives with a progressive neuromuscular disease known as multifocal acquired motor axonopathy. When he was first diagnosed, Justin received care from the San Diego MDA Care Center, part of a network of over 150 multidisciplinary clinics across the country. Since then, MDA has been a source of support.
Both Justin and Patrick understand the importance of adventure, independence, and community. They want every child living with neuromuscular disease to have experiences that open their eyes to the wonder of nature, give them a sense of purpose and identity, and connect them with others who understand the challenges of living with disabilities.
Justin and Patrick's passion for others to overcome the challenges they face is why they are excited to partner with the MDA. Funds raised will help send kids to MDA Summer Camp, a place where children living with neuromuscular disease learn to push their limits, ask for and receive help, and feel empowered to advocate for themselves and is provided at no cost to families as part of MDA's mission. Registration for the 2022 MDA Summer Camp sessions opens in February and includes both in-person and virtual options. The in-person summer camp program is building back up after two years of virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the high-risk community MDA serves. The 2022 program will include in-person summer camp locations across the country and several virtual sessions. For updates and information about the MDA Summer Camp program visit mda.org/summer-camp.
"Challenges can be hard to overcome, which is why it's so important to let others support us and 'push us' beyond the limitations we set for ourselves," said Alicia Dobosz, Senior Director of Recreation and Community Programs at MDA. "We're glad we were able to offer a virtual camp option during the pandemic to keep families connected, and we're looking forward to building back our in-person camp program so children in our community can have that experience again. For decades, the MDA camp program has given people confidence, independence, life-long friends, and a community of support that they carry through their adult lives. The program enables campers to become advocates for themselves and leaders in the disability community, just like you see in the film."
"Some of the children supported by the MDA have never had the opportunity to go to camp," said Justin. "Others have missed out on the in-person experience the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, if it's their first time going to camp or they're going back again, every kid deserves this opportunity."
"Our goal is to send 500 kids to camp," stated Patrick. "For a lot of campers, MDA camp is an experience of a lifetime. We hope many will join us in the effort to make so many dreams come true."
I'll Push You – Film Synopsis:
I'll Push You is a story of friendship and love, a story of hope and sacrifice, a story that explores the raw, deep human condition and the connections we all long for. The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain serves as a backdrop to the lives of Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray. I'll Push You provides insight into what it means to live for one another, what it means to overcome limitations, and what it means to push one another toward who we each long to be. At first glance, this story appears to be an adventure tackling a physical challenge in order to fulfill the dream of a man who lives life from a wheelchair. The reality of I'll Push You is there are many ways we can push one another. Justin's perspective on life and the way in which he lives it pushes Patrick beyond his fears and doubts. Join us as we discover what it means to let go of safety and what it means to rest completely in faith. To learn more visit illpushyou.com.
About the Muscular Dystrophy Association
For 70 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has been committed to transforming the lives of people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. We do this through innovations in science and innovations in care. As the largest source of funding for neuromuscular disease research outside of the federal government, MDA has committed more than $1 billion since our inception to accelerate the discovery of therapies and cures. Research we have supported is directly linked to life-changing therapies across multiple neuromuscular diseases. MDA's MOVR is the first and only data hub that aggregates clinical, genetic, and patient-reported data for multiple neuromuscular diseases to improve health outcomes and accelerate drug development. MDA supports the largest network of multidisciplinary clinics providing best-in-class care at more than 150 of the nation's top medical institutions. Our Resource Center serves the community with one-on-one specialized support, and we offer educational conferences, events, and materials for families and healthcare providers. MDA Advocacy supports equal access for our community, and each year thousands of children and young adults learn vital life skills and gain independence at summer camp and through recreational programs, at no cost to families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, MDA continues to produce virtual events and programming to support our community when in-person events and activities are not possible. MDA's COVID-19 guidelines and virtual events are posted at mda.org/COVID19. For more information, visit mda.org.