Beneath the Surface: A Short Documentary about People with MS and the Connections They Make
In early 2020, my friend and MS activist, Kate Milliken, invited me to be part of a documentary she was co-producing with The Nantucket Project. I accepted, and in February of this year a film crew headed by director and co-producer David Kuhn made their way up to South Portland, Maine.
They spent a couple of hours with Kim and me, in our home, where I showed off all of my cool technology. Then we packed up and headed to Cape Elizabeth Middle School, where Kim is a school counselor. On that day, I presented to a group of 8th graders on the subject of living a contented life despite disability. The kids were engaged in the presentation, but were also more than a little interested in the cameras, and whether or not they would appear in the final cut.
Then, as quickly as they had arrived the film crew was gone, and we waited several months to see the final product.
Sharing inspiring stories
I couldn't have been more pleased with Beneath the Surface. And I couldn't have been happier with the entire experience. Every step of the process was handled with professionalism and compassion — from scheduling to interviewing to filming to follow up. I envy the folks from The Nantucket Project, who travel around the world meeting the most inspiring people. What stories they hear, and what beautiful films they make. Kudos to Kate Milliken, who assembled the cast and provided the emotional punch throughout the film while telling her own MS story.
Our unique journeys with MS
I was humbled to be among a group of such amazing MS patients, each one of whom told a unique story about their journey with MS. And I'm thankful for the doctors in the film who supplemented our stories, and who have dedicated their professional lives to treating people with MS.
From the film's website:
Beneath The Surface tells the stories of people in America living with multiple sclerosis at various stages of progression, who open their homes and their hearts, share what it felt like at diagnosis, and how dreams survive albeit most quite altered from “original plans.” They are empowered, graceful, in some cases depressed and lonely, and always people for whom compassion and understanding change how we view and care for them. We encounter patients, doctors (sometimes during clinical exams), the inside of an MRI machine, well-known and less well-known people, spouses and even one newly-met grandson. The film takes us from the personal level to a more universal consideration on stigma, resilience and above all hope.
Do you ever feel you've had a loss of emotion? Not a depressed feeling but more like emotionally flat?