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A documentary about Pat Leahy's experience competing as a blind amateur bodybuilder and his life journey.
92 backers pledged $10,162 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,162

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Blind Lifter :: Raising the Bar with A Vision 

by Patrick Leahy, Janar Stewart, Glenn Elliott, Devin Gallagher, and Renee Cobb

Nothing can stop 39-year-old DC resident Pat Leahy from returning to the bodybuilding stage. Not age, not injury -- not even blindness.

Pat posing at the Richmond Atlantic Supershow
Pat posing at the Richmond Atlantic Supershow

Help us fund this Kickstarter campaign for the completion of the "Blind Lifter" documentary!  With your help, we will raise $10,000 over 42 days, with a stretch target of $15,000. We have most of the footage filmed, we have an awesome editing house onboard for production, and we want your support for finishing up and promoting this one-of-a kind documentary. 

We would love to have you join our team in the final stretch as we prepare to share this inspirational film with kids with disabilities, their families, teachers, coaches, school administrators, and others. 

About the Documentary

Pat has entered what may become his final bodybuilding competition. Old sports injuries could flare mid-performance and permanently affect his athletic future. Cameras follow his progression and add pressure to his need to succeed. His parents support him, yet voice concerns about his health and safety. Yet, something deeper drives Pat.

He says competition opens new worlds to him and gives him a sense of control that blindness can make difficult. Pat's journey illustrates the tug-of-war between total independence and the occasional need for assistance.

In a world that sometimes assumes what people with disabilities can and cannot do, they often must remind us all that most limitations reside in the mind. Fueled by a medal for best routine during a 2010 national bodybuilding competition and armed with a dramatically new workout program, Pat trains, diets, and faces setbacks as he pushes himself to win another top award.

In high school, Pat participated in gymnastics.
In high school, Pat participated in gymnastics.

As Pat prepares for the upcoming bodybuilding competition, will his inner need and his insatiable drive push him too far, or will his latest odyssey show others how to truly live?

We are especially hopeful that this Blind Lifter documentary will be an inspiration to and encourage children with disabilities to participate in extracurricular athletic programs, providing them with a well-balanced life, promoting self-reliance, and teaching the value of teamwork.

Recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that students with disabilities were up to 56% less likely to participate in school-based athletic programs. Policymakers have since highlighted the need to increase the participation rate of 1st through 12th grade students with disabilities in athletics.

The funds are needed for wrapping up three filming sessions, as described below, DVD packaging and distribution, enhancing accessibility features, and producing a teaching toolkit to help increase the participation rate of kids with disabilities in extracurricular athletics.

Wrapping up the Final 3 Filming Sessions ($4,000)

#1) The Blind Lifter team recently traveled to Montreal, Quebec to shoot interviews with one of Pat's best friends and his family. This shoot showed the bond between Pat, his good friend, and their daughter with developmental challenges.  This portion of the film meant a lot to Pat; he's never focused on his disability, but when it comes to the obstacles of those he cares about, it means so much more.

#2) Over the next few weeks, the team will be filming Pat and his Dad at an Orioles game. This segment will highlight Pat's love for baseball, and this is a crucial scene for our efforts.

#3) Finally, the documentary team plans to visit Pat's brother and his family in Philadelphia, PA. This shoot will show the strong bond between Pat and his brother, niece, nephew, and sister-in-law. Pat's brother, Bill is one of the driving forces behind Pat's professional and athletic success.

DVD Packaging and Distribution ($2,000)

When the film is complete, we will share it with kids with disabilities, their families, and schools. We hope to produce an initial run of about 250 DVDs and selectively share them with interested individuals and organizations across America.

Enhanced Accessibility Features ($4,000)

In order to be fully accessible to those with hearing and visual impairments, the film will need closed captioning and audio description services. In our goal to reach as many as possible with the message that "Blind Lifter" delivers, we must be able to do this.

Teaching Toolkit for Kids with disabilities and their families and schools ($5,000)

The outreach component to "Blind Lifter" is a driving reason Pat Leahy decided to venture into this project. We aim to increase the participation rate of kids with disabilities in extracurricular athletics.  This funding will be used to develop lesson plans and a teaching toolkit for presenting the film to 1st through 12th grade classes, organizations, and other interested people.

Follow Pat's guide dog and team member Galahad on Twitter @gallahadguidedog
Follow Pat's guide dog and team member Galahad on Twitter @gallahadguidedog

Risks and challenges

The “Blind Lifter” team is laser focused on completing this project. We have dozens of footage hours in the can, an editing house, and others helping us reach the finish line. Pat Leahy had the idea of producing a documentary in 2010. As a novice in the documentary world, he soon realized the need for finding a director and highly skilled camera crew. He found a local Washington DC organization called Docs in Progress, which helps people interested in making documentaries. Docs in Progress led Pat to Janar Stewart and the rest fell into place from there.

Pat felt so good that he knew now was the time for completing the film. Consequently, he recently entered his second bodybuilding competition.

Since the fall of 2012, Pat, Janar, and Glenn have worked hard to advance “Blind Lifter". The primary challenges ahead are finishing up the remaining shoots and obtaining music rights for Pat’s bodybuilding routine song, "Stars" by the band Miggs. We have started reaching out to their record label and management. We are hopeful this process will have a simple solution and are prepared to modify parts of the film if song rights are not available. We will keep you posted!

Finally, Pat’s unwavering commitment for seeing the “Blind Lifter” project through, including his countless hours in the gym, recovery from injury, and the daily obstacles of being blind helps fuel his team’s determination for finishing the film later this year.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Our sincere gratitude and email updates.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    An exclusive and very cool “Blind Lifter” T-shirt

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    26 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A personalized limited edition movie poster and a “Blind Lifter” T-shirt

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    15 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A personal 30-minute fitness tips phone call or get-together with Pat, as well as a “Blind Lifter” T-shirt, and personalized limited edition movie poster

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    12 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Two event tickets to the “Blind Lifter” movie premier in Washington DC in the fall of 2013, as well as all of the above rewards

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    5 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A one-month mobile personal training package with Pat’s personal certified trainer, Kevin Carr http://coachkevcarr.com/ , two event tickets to the "Blind Lifter" movie premier in the fall of 2013, a "Blind Lifter T-shirt and limited edition movie poster

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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Pat & Galahad will visit your group or organization, present the movie,
    and take Q&A around the film. The sponsoring person or organization
    would handle airfare and lodging accommodations. Dates are open. (All of above the awards are included at this pledge level with the exception of the one month personal training consulting.)

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Funding period

- (41 days)