Multiple sclerosis is a bitchy disease, something filmmaker Jason DaSilva and I both understand intimately. It hits like a tsunami, makes a devastating mess, takes what it wants and doesn’t usually give anything good in return. In my own experience, it feels like I am slowly being whittled down. A little off my eyes, my ears, my sense of touch, my lungs, my bladder … certainly my stamina … it’s a bitchy disease, like I said.
Jason’s experience with MS, though, isn’t quite as gentle as mine, if as benign a word as “gentle” can be used for something so malignant. A young man traveling the world and making films, he fell while at the beach with his family and couldn’t get back up. He tried exercise to get his muscles back, but it didn’t help, and the problem actually got worse. Over five years he lost the ability to walk and now uses a scooter.
Being a filmmaker, he shot a documentary called When I Walk that brings us all along for his journey, giving words and images to experiences that are often invisible. The film was shown at the Sundance Festival last year, and this is what the SF reviewer had to say about it:
“An emotional and inspirational documentary that is a pleasure to watch, When I Walk is an energizing and self-generating film experience whose creative engine is its young filmmaker’s determination to live and his ability to make sense of being plagued by a devastating disease through the art of cinematic storytelling.”
Jason wants a cure, like most of us who acquire disabilities, and he also wants access NOW, since who knows how long a wait for a cure might be. And being a community-minded guy, he’s launched a crowd-sourced tool that he calls AXS Map, where we can upload info on restaurants and other businesses that work for us, and read the reviews of others who have disabilities.
AXS Map can be used online, by iPhone, and on Android devices. So if you visit a place that deserves a shout-out, give it a glowing review. Or, if you attempt to access a business but can’t, share that info as well.
Let us know how well AXS Map works for you.