BACKGROUND STORY AND REAL-LIFE INSPIRATION
This video project was inspired by a real event that occurred in my life a decade ago. I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis 15 years ago and the condition has now continued well into my adulthood.
Five to six years into my diagnosis, I was attending college in my city of Chicago. I commuted to school using public transportation such as the Metra, The Chicago "L" or my own vehicle.
Commuting to and from school with a chronic illness wasn't easy. In fact, attending full-time while working wasn't easy either. However, with assistance and strategic planning I was able to achieve my dream of graduating college.
One particular cold winter day, I had to attend a class downtown in the early morning. Anyone living with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic illness or disability, know all too well that cold weather and morning stiffness don't make for a great start.
At that time, I was on a biologic called Enbrel. I was taking weekly injections, supplements but it still wasn't enough. My doctor prescribed ibuprofen at the time to help with the residual pain and swelling.
The morning before I got on the train, I had to take two ibuprofens and a two hour long hot shower just to get moving and able to function for the day ahead.
My joint damage at the time wasn't noticeable unless you knew me and I told you about it or pointed it out. So to a random person who didn't know, "I didn't look sick" or "I wasn't disabled."
According to the state Illinois though, that wasn't the case. I was issued a disability parking placard after an extensive application, so I could park my car in an accessible parking spot.
So when I was to take the morning train with the rest of the commuters, I was still feeling some pain. Nobody saw this though. That's the point. Pain and invisible illness isn't something we can just see with the naked eye all the time.
Our facial expressions and the exhausted appearance from pain aren't noticed right away all the time and those that do see it, understand the subtle nature of how invisible illness works.
This is why society has such a hard time believing people with various invisible illnesses, because what can't be seen with the naked eye, we are told it automatically doesn't exist. However, just because something can't be seen doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
When I parked my car in front of the train that morning, I jumped right out and ran up the three stairs leading to the Metra train platform. During that moment it's not surprising that any on-looker would assume I was misusing the placard. This person didn't know the searing pain I felt in my feet, the joint damage in my elbow, wrist or fingers proven by X-rays and doctors. Hence, the need for a parking placard to help when I am in pain and can't walk far distances.
Later that evening, a cop showed up to my home with a complaint. Someone had reported me to the police without my knowledge. They just made a rash assumption. The police officer left quickly because there was proof I wasn't misusing what was rightfully given to me.
This is happened 10 years ago but is still happening in society today. But why? Why do we see people still being questioned, harassed, bullied and treated poorly just because they don't fit the mold of what a "disabled" person should look like.
Disability comes in various forms. People with invisible and visible illnesses who use a wheelchair, cane, assistive devices or nothing at all, can be using a parking placard.
So, how will this all happen?
We will be filming at the location I had the cops called on me. All permits have been secured but help is needed to raise funds for production costs to make a quality video the invisible illness and disability communities deserve.
When will this all happen?
As soon as possible in 2019. This all depends on the weather and people's schedules (as unforeseen delays can occur). We will work around it if so. Backers will be the first to know of all and any updates. Stay tuned!
My video project will bring a spotlight onto three things:
1. How much society has changed within ten years.
2. How people perceive a person with an invisible illness using a disability parking placard.
3. Education and raising awareness.
**Where can you view the video upon completion?**
The video will be posted on my YouTube channel and various social media channels, including my own upon completion. It will be shared with nonprofit organizations and media outlets too.
Below are my social media links. You can sign up for my newsletter on my website/blog to get first hand updates of when it's live as well!
TO READ THE FULL STORY OF MY EXPERIENCE BEING QUESTIONED FOR USING A DISABILITY PARKING PLACARD, VIEW THE LINK BELOW ON THE MIGHTY.
Risks and challenges
The most important parts will be filmed outside, so any weather related delays and cancelations will need to be considered. However, our locations for filming are very flexible about this, allowing our team to cancel the day of or before and plan accordingly for another close date to get this project done.
The actors are an integral part of the project. We have to remember though, that they to are human. Things can arise in their lives (i.e. getting sick, work delays) that aren't always in their control. If this does happen, we will plan accordingly and reschedule at the nearest date to finish the project.
Some people may not be receptive to being interviewed on camera but responses can still be recorded using proper privacy techniques during filming.
Technical difficulties and glitches can arise during filming but we will allow a proper amount of time for an event like this, to correct and redo if necessary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)