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$6,464 pledged of $75,000 goal
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By Jothy Rosenberg
$6,464 pledged of $75,000 goal
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About this project

Roseann Sdoia's leg was amputated after she was badly injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. In a new documentary film you can help fund, called Who Says Roseann Can't Run, we will be witnesses as she goes from barely surviving to thriving. She'll get back into life by getting back into sports—for her, running. This film will be a story about determination, hard work, resilience, and focus with setbacks, tears, and frustration along the way. Lending his experience while learning to run right beside her will be Jothy Rosenberg, an amputee of 40 years, and an accomplished athlete (but not in running). We humans cannot live healthy, happy lives without self-esteem which can be lost when we become physically challenged. Many, like Jothy and Roseann, find the key to recovering self-esteem is conquering a high challenge sport so Roseann needs to run. People who see this film will cry, they'll laugh, they'll jump up and cheer, and then they'll go off and conquer their next challenge as Roseann does. It will be real; it will help heal. We need to raise $75,000 to bring this great film to the world.

Roseann Sdoia
Roseann Sdoia

The bombing

Marathon Monday is a big holiday in Boston. What it represents is freedom. Freedom from a long, cold winter hibernation. Freedom to be outside, cheering on the runners, having the first cookout of the season; the course is lined by cheering happy crowds. But last April, two very bad people ruined everything, killed four people, and forever changed the lives of over 200 badly injured finish-line bystanders, one of whom was Roseann.

Roseann Sdoia lives in Boston's North End. She's a runner but not a marathoner. She had friends running that morning. So like thousands of others, she lined up near the finish line behind steel barriers to watch. When the bomb exploded it badly damaged her right leg, sent shrapnel into her left shin, and blew out both eardrums. She survived but just barely and largely because of fast reactions from people nearby like first responder and now boy friend Mike Materia, the Boston Fire Fighter who helped save her life making sure she got to the hospital fast all the while holding her hand. Shortly thereafter, Roseann's right leg had to be amputated above the knee.

Roseann Sdoia and Mike Materia
Roseann Sdoia and Mike Materia

Roseann needed multiple surgeries and weeks of rehabilitation before she was healed enough to be fitted for a prosthesis. Re-learning to walk, when you can't feel your feet or joints is more than really hard, it's frightening. There is progress, then setbacks, some stumbles, soreness, fatigue. It's hard. We'll show that in the documentary. But breakthroughs happen too and independence comes and confidence grows and we'll show that. In the past, all prosthetic knees--and still most today due to their expense--are mechanical and require you land on them with the knee straight and locked or gravity takes over catastrophically and rapidly and the user falls.

Handi-capable

As Roseann likes to say, she's not handicapped, she's handi-capable. It will take really hard work to overcome how her body changed and that's part of what we and Roseann want to show the world. Everyone seems to want the bombing amputees to just be amazing right away and run in the next marathon. That's not fair. They will be amazing. Roseann will be amazing. But they, and she, first have to fully regain their self-esteem. 

Roseann's running leg
Roseann's running leg

A running leg is different from a walking leg. It has a "blade" foot that is a very fancy spring. It also has a mechanical knee so that it can swing through fast which will require landing on it straight and locked, or else. The potential is amazing but conquering this beast is the only way an amputee can run. That act of conquering is exactly what will fully restore Roseann's, or anyone in this situation's, self-confidence and self-esteem. And when we tell this story well, her conquering will help thousands conquer their beasts.

Roseann's bionic walking leg
Roseann's bionic walking leg

So who is Jothy and why is he coaching Roseann? Jothy is an author of multiple books, a speaker, a TV producer, a PhD computer scientist, and a serial entrepreneur. He is also a 40-year amputee who knows how low one's self-esteem can go and who built himself and his life back through high-challenge sports. In his case it was skiing, open water swimming, and long-distance biking. But not running. And that's actually his second qualification.

Jothy Rosenberg
Jothy Rosenberg

At their first meeting, Jothy explained how great biking was for an amputee. "No," Roseann said, "I've never gotten into biking." Then he pointed out that, in New England, being a skier can keep you active and outside during long snowy winters. "No, I don't like the cold," Roseann said. Swimming? Nope. Rowing? Not so much. "I'm a runner and I want to run again." And then she looked right into the camera and said firmly, "And I'm so glad I chose running, which Jothy has never done, so I can kick his ass!"

Creating the documentary

That brings us to today and this Kickstarter campaign to fund the documentary Who Says Roseann Can't Run by Jothy Rosenberg and Steve McCarthy. The Who Says I Can't Foundation (WSICF) provided Roseann with a running leg. She got a Cheetah-print pattern silk-screened onto her running leg for extra motivation. Jothy will get the same model leg but with some other animal print (tortoise shell?). WSICF will also have "gait coaches" to teach them both proper prosthetic running technique. But from there it's up to them to work hard and coach each other. Roseann knows running; Jothy last ran as a two-legger 40 years ago. Jothy knows how much harder an amputee needs to work to match or exceed what they were previously able to do at their sport.

Every step of the way, we will have cameras to record their progress. Viewers will see sweat, triumphs, setbacks, and, yes, probably falls as well. We can't predict it all. That will be the best part--it's completely unscripted. Seeing Roseann recover from a horrific event, seemingly disabled forever, seeing her regain her running ability and her self-esteem, will inspire thousands with their own challenges.

We need to raise $75,000 because we know what it takes to create a high quality documentary at the same level as our YouTube TV series (where three episodes cost $118,000) especially one that will stretch out over as much as a full year of filming. When we are finished we will talk to a number of networks where we have strong contacts and will consider entering in film festivals to get visibility as well. Along the way, we will find outlets for short segments such as the two major networks with whom we are already having discussions. As Roseann makes progress we will create short "update" segments that we will release on our Who Says I Can't TV channel on YouTube that you will be able to follow. As those are posted, and whenever there is news or an interesting development, we will be sure to post that here on our Kickstarter page.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Spread the word please.

Jothy Rosenberg & Steve McCarthy
Jothy Rosenberg & Steve McCarthy

Risks and challenges

Jothy or Roseann might completely fail at prosthetic running. That in itself might be very interesting but complete failure short of injury is quite unlikely. Regardless, if running stops being an option there are other sports that still achieve the same goal of re-building one's self-esteem and therefore life.

We do not have a set end date for the documentary so production delays are not a concern. If the budget turns out to be too optimistic we will have continued to look for ways to augment our funding anyway from corporate sponsors to foundations to individuals.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Blue wrist-band with "Who Says I Can't" embossed on it.

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    Digital download of the book Who Says I Can't by Jothy Rosenberg. In PDF, or epub format.

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    An autographed copy of Jothy's book Who Says I Can't that led to the TV show on YouTube and Charitable Foundation of the same name. It is his story of survival from cancer that took a leg and a lung.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DVD & Blu-ray 2-disk package of the TV show Who Says I Can't featuring the incredible stories of Hugh Herr, Kelly Bruno and Maureen McKinnon. 44 min in length.

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    Digital download of full documentary once it is complete.

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    Black crew hat worn by filming and production team with "Who Says I Can't" embossed on front.

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    Set of high resolution still images (digital download) from all the shoots. Of the scene, behind the scenes, of the crew, etc.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    DVD & Blu-ray of final documentary with out-takes and bloopers included.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Credits as a backer in the final documentary film credits.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Limited engagement pre-screening of the full documentary in Boston. Meet Jothy, Roseann and Director/producer Steve McCarthy. Venue to be announced.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Be our guest in the WSIC tent along the 2014 Boston Marathon route on Marathon Monday. Cheer on the runners and provide them water and fruit. Travel costs to Boston NOT included

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Join the crew at a shoot and be a gaffer helping with lights, sound, equipment. Travel to Boston NOT included. We will schedule 2 backer gaffers per shoot over 5 total shoots.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The first lucky backer at this level will become the owner of Roseann's left shoe at the end of filming. Autographed by Roseann.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    All expenses paid trip to Boston to join Jothy and Roseann on set and be filmed running with them. Cannot guarantee this footage survives the final edit.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Want us to come do a screening of the full documentary to you and your friends? We'll come to you and show it to your group.

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Funding period

- (40 days)