BWW Review: THE ATAXIAN, Powerful and Inspiring : The Life Well Lived Is The Life Well Raced
The documentary, directed by Kevin Schlanser and Zack Bennett, one of the feature films at this year's Sedona International Film Festival, is a deeply inspiring chronicle of Kyle's courageous journey to increase awareness about Friedreich's ataxia (FA), a degenerative disease that usually begins in childhood and leads to impaired muscle coordination and other debilitating conditions.
Diagnosed with FA, Kyle chooses not to surrender but to face his life's new reality head-on. His determination to overcome his limitations effectively removes the dis from disability. He does not surrender to the promise of mortality; he promises instead to grab the immediacy of life and do something huge while he still has the ability. His sense of urgency flowers into a bold commitment to traverse America. His logic is unassailable: The ride will get people excited about the potential they have yet to fulfil ~ and he'll help to raise awareness and dollars to support clinical trials that may yield treatments to mitigate if not cure the disease.
So, framed against the sunset skies of an American forever landscape, Kyle, seated on a recumbent bike, embarks on the Race Across America, a 3000 mile ride from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.
Inspiration is courageous, and, in advance of the race, he recruits Sean Baumstark, Mike Mellott, and John Lockwood to his four-member relay team. Each is a dynamo and totally pumped about the challenge ~ 350-500 miles a day for nine days!
The camera captures the passion and emotion of Kyle and his fellow travelers whose numbers increase as the miles pass. It also records the moving accounts of families that have experienced FA ~ families whose stories remarkably radiate not despair but hope.
For Kyle and his extended family, FARA (Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance) is the channel for finding the cure.
THE ATAXIAN demonstrates powerfully and dramatically the inestimable power of an individual with a mission and the corresponding force of a community of caring and shared commitment. Each ultimately depends on the other.
Photo credit to THE ATAXIAN