Films can move us, educate us, and touch our deepest human chords…
Last night, I screened “Dancing at the Vatican” and I felt all of the of the above. I learned about a rare vicious disease, that is now being brought to life in this film.
Huntington’s disease is a genetic, progressive and fatal disease that affects one person in every 10,000. Latin America holds a special place in the scientific history of HD. In 1993 an international effort first identified the mutations causing Huntington’s disease in the Maracaibo region of Venezuela. Unfortunately, despite the many years since the discovery of the gene, the quality of life of affected people in Venezuela and elsewhere has changed very little.
“Dancing at the Vatican,” is an emotionally charged film about Huntington’s disease authored by former Emmy award winning TV reporter Charles Sabine. The film follows villagers from Latin America on a life changing journey to the Vatican and an audience with the Pope.
I could not hold back the tears while screening this film. As a mother of a severely disabled child, I could relate to the heartache and isolation that caregivers and families often feel. It showcases the obstacles and stigma associated with those most affected by this genetic disease. But there is a message of hope, when select families from Venezuela are given a platform at the Vatican in Rome to share their personal journeys.
Pope Benedict showed deep compassion and personally met with these families. It was a magical moment for them, and just beautiful to watch. And yes…. more tears.
To learn more about Huntington Disease, or to see how you can help click here.