Are you a fan of the movies?  My wife and I are definitely cinephiles.  In many years, we have seen all of the films nominated in the six major Academy Award categories (Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress & Director) before Oscars night.  Whether it’s a film at the local theatre or streaming on Netflix or Apple TV, we love seeing great stories brought to life on film.
I am writing this on October 24, otherwise known as World Polio Day.  To bring attention to its global eradication efforts, Rotary is promoting the film Breathe.  This is a film I’m really looking forward to seeing.  Starring Andrew Garfield (Academy Award nominee for his role as Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss in Hacksaw Ridge) and Claire Foy (Golden Globe winner for her role as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown), Breathe is the true story of Robin Cavendish.  Robin contracted polio in Kenya in 1958.  Almost immediately, he was paralyzed from the neck down and confined to a hospital ward.  He needed the assistance of a breathing machine to stay alive and was told he would not survive more than a few months.  With the help of his wife Diana and a groundbreaking invention by one of his friends, Robin not only escaped the hospital, but lived a full and passionate life - raising his son, traveling the world and devoting his life to helping other polio patients.
At the heart of this movie about polio is a celebration of positivity, bravery, and human possibility - a theme which struck a chord with Andrew Garfield. At the film’s opening at the London Film Festival earlier this year, Garfield said “Robin Cavendish fought for value of life. He fought to make life meaningful and not just survive it, but to live a rich and connected life. Out of such loss and suffering, [Robin & Diana] created such joy, and that’s just an inspiration for all of us.  What I saw in their story was a template of how to live. How to live a life of meaning with the inevitable loss incorporated into one’s life.”
As Rotarians, we are all engaged in the same fight for the “value of life” championed by Robin Cavendish.  Our service on community projects right here in the East Penn area, as well as participation in the End Polio Now initiative and other projects funded by The Rotary Foundation, enables us to “live a life of meaning” and to help others “live a rich and connected life.”
Maybe I’ll see you at the theatre when Breathe comes to our area.  In the meantime, take a moment to watch the trailer by clicking here.
Yours in Rotary,