Follow Jen, a scoliosis sufferer as she overcomes the odds and fights the physical challenges of the Amazon's toughest jungle marathon
Follow Jen, a scoliosis sufferer as she overcomes the odds and fights the physical challenges of the Amazon's toughest jungle marathon Read more
About this project
"The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible..." Arthur C. Clarke, writer
Thank you all for looking at this page and helping us with our campaign; we are looking for £12,000 which is the bare minimum we need to make this film happen. This money only covers the Amazon side of the filming, the rest will be done for free via pro6media.com as it is an awareness documentary. You can follow our progress on our website www.nei33.wix.com/breathe
we have to stress that this project is not for financial gain, our soul aim is to make an awareness film and put the film out for free via online media and DVD
Why is it that the little voice inside our head always convinces us that pushing our limits is unachievable? Jennifer Adair - an ordinary girl who works for a well-known fashion brand in London, has suffered from agonising pain from scoliosis since she was 14 years of age and has recently undergone major surgery to have her spine corrected. Now Jen is past her 12 month recovery constraint, she has set herself an ultimate goal that will test her limits and push the boundaries of her capabilities -running an ultra-marathon. Jen enjoys running but has never challenged herself to do something so extreme; in fact, she hasn't yet competed in a marathon. This documentary will follow Jen as she trains and prepares herself for the relentless 254km, self-sufficient, 7 day, male-dominated UVU Jungle Marathon across treacherous terrain in the remote Amazon jungle.
With sport on the public's radar more than it has ever been, this documentary is very relevant to the here and now. The Olympics has had a massive impact on the nation, and it's legacy of enthusiasm and momentum for sport is still going strong. This is a story of adventure, fitness and capability. What better time to compete in what has been voted the toughest endurance challenge in the world, than on the Jungle Marathon's 10th anniversary. Through Jen's eyes viewers will discover a spectacular part of Brazil and see first-hand the wonders of nature and the beautiful scenery and setting. There will be fantastic imagery and footage, from the hustle and bustle of city life as the plane lands, the tranquil overnight boat journey up the Tapajos River, to the remote and unremitting wilderness of the Amazon Jungle.
Why Is Jen Special?
Jennifer Adair is 33 years old and lives in Manchester, but works most weekdays in London as a Sales Manager for Tommy Hilfiger. Although Jen's work life revolves around the glamorous world of fashion, her adventurous side takes her back to the countryside most weekends,where she is involved in many adventure sports such as rock climbing and skiing.
However, enjoying these activities has not been easily achievable for Jen - she was diagnosed with double scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, at age 14. For Jen this meant that her spine was 'S' shaped causing her ribcage to twist and a prominent shoulder blade. this rotationcompressed Jen's left side putting strain on her internal organs and significantly diminishing her lung capacity. She has been on pain killers since her diagnosis; at the worst this meant taking a cocktail of 21 painkillers a day. Scoliosis made life very challenging for Jen but she became accustomed to her back and adapted her life around it. She was advised by doctors during her teenage years to give up sport to avoid aggravating her spine. It wasn't until her mid-twenties that Jen changed her outlook on life and decided to once again take up the sports she loved. It was difficult but Jen has never looked back and is happier now than she has ever been, she is a big believer that staying fit and strong has had a positive impact on her life.
This all changed in March 2012 during a routine checkup. Her condition had deteriorated as expectedand only major spinal surgery to fuse her vertebrae would prevent her condition from worsening further. The decision to go ahead with the surgery was one of the hardest of her life but she chose to go ahead with the operation to correct the curvature of her spine in September 2012. This kind of surgery, especially on an adult patient, has many risks including paralysis. After 10 hours of surgery Jen left the operating theatre with two titanium rods held onto her spine by 12 screws -making her 1.5 inches taller! Even after this corrective surgery Jen still suffers with pain as the spinal fusion only corrects the curve of her spine, not the rotation. However Jen sees her condition as "character building", accepting that she will never be pain free; instead she works with a sports therapist to keep it manageable and doesn't let it stop her from doing anything. Quite the opposite, it has inspired her to do more and push her boundaries. The challenges she has faced have moulded her into the determined character she is today.
Out of every 1000 children, 3 to 4 of them will develop a spinal curve that is considered serious enough for specialist supervision
Scoliosis is estimated to affect 4.5% of the general population. There are approximately 273 million people in the United States, this means that over 12 million cases of scolioses exist and almost 500 more are diagnosed everyday- about 173,000 every year! According to some studies, the average scoliosis patient will suffer a 14 year reduction in their average life expectancy. This means that if by some miracle we could eliminate scoliosis completely it would add 168 million years of health and productivity to our society.
Unlike in other countries, schools in the UK do not currently perform scoliosis screenings. If they did many scoliosis cases could be prevented by use of a brace. Such braces are generally prescribed to prevent further progression of curves that are at least 25 degrees and no more than 40 degrees.
Style And Approach
The documentary will show Jen in the context of her normal life. Working in the glamorous world of fashion, Jen will be shown at her luxury Tommy Hilfiger showrooms in Knightsbridge, London, meeting clients and discussing the future season collections whilst the showroom assistant serves them tea and cake. It will also include a discussion with Jen about her recent spinal surgery; dealing with the pain, her path to recovery, and how it has moulded her to be the person she is now. Then in stark contrast Jen will be seen fully kitted up in her running gear, setting off on a training session.
UVU Jungle Marathon Statistics
The total distance to be covered is 254km in 6 stages over 7 days. Difficulty on the Jungle Marathon is not measured by the distance but by the terrain. As the race is self-sufficient, competitors must carry all their own food and equipment for the week. The organisers provide shelter, medical and safety cover, and water.
- Stage 1: 23km
- Stage 2: 25km
- Stage 3: 34km
- Stage 4: 42km
- Stage 5: 108km
- Stage 6: 22km
The course route is through primary jungle. There will be natural obstacles to pass including streams and shallow rivers where anacondas and piranhas lurk. There will be temperatures of 40°C with 99% humidity, and participants must sleep deep in the jungle where animals such as jaguars prowl. All competitors are responsible for putting up their own hammocks and preparing their own food after each stage. Each stage will have a maximum time for completion; any runner failing to arrive within their allocated stage time may be eliminated from the race.
UVU Jungle Marathon website: http://junglemarathon.com
Neil Hart: Born in England but residing in France to give him access to Europe were he makes adventure films for a living, Neil has a monthly climbing series on epic TV and recently produced his first feature length climbing film for broadcast on French TV, working for such companies as The Gravity Chanel, The North Face and Black Diamond. Founder of pro6media.com
Haroun Souirji: Belgian based film maker specialising in remote film locations working for such client as Adidas Outdoor, Mammut and Boreal. Haroun is very comfortable shooting in any location and his recent filming locations include the Congo, South Africa and Malawi. Founder of vastmotionpictures.com
Tell a great story, move people, make people laugh, change the way people want to live their lives...
This documentary is about creating a life of adventure and a life to be lived differently through an intriguing and engaging story, as well as connecting with the planet. There is a big world out there but not so big as to be unreachable.
Risks and challenges
To date, I have been filming Jen over the last 6 months training for the race, as well as her day-to-day experiences having to deal with her condition. Just last weekend she competed in her first ever race, a 22km trail run, in which she finished 10th in the women's category. The risks and challenges are simple, we want to raise awareness of this condition but have no funds to make the film, I am filming all her training out of my own pocket. Regardless of whether we get funding or not, Jen will run; she has already booked her flights and entered the race. We hope to raise the money purely to cover the cost of sending a film crew with her and pay for the filming rights. I cannot afford to pay and travel to the Amazon and specialist equipment is needed to film in this hostile environment.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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