I Am Breathing film screening
Co-presented with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney Medical School and the Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW
Motor neurone disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurological disease that causes progressive death of the motor neurones that enable us to move, speak, swallow and breathe. The biological basis of MND is poorly understood. The only known causes of MND are genetic mutations that contribute in a minority of cases. MND affects approximately 1500 people in Australia and thousands more - their carers, families and friends - live daily with its impact. On average every day in Australia at least one person dies from MND and another is diagnosed.
As part of MND/ALS Global Awareness Day, Sydney Ideas is pleased to present a screening of I AM BREATHING, an award-winning UK documentary film by Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon, that looks at the last months of a young father’s life as he succumbs to motor neurone disease. Neil Platt faces Motor Neurone Disease with incredible humour and honesty, determined to share this last stage of his life through a blog that continues to touch many people. With his posts forming the film’s narration, I AM BREATHING tries to listen to Neil as he asks in the last months of his life: “What makes us human?”
The film will be introduced by Sydney Medical School alumnus, Associate Professor Ian Blair, from the Australian School of Advanced Medicine at Macquarie University, whose research career has focused on determining the molecular and cellular basis for a variety of neurological conditions, including motor neurone disease. Until recently, Ian directed an ALS/MND research group at the ANZAC Research Institute/University of Sydney which in the past five years has played a key role in several ALS gene discoveries worldwide.
Dr Kirsten Harley, lecturer in social and behavioural sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences, will briefly share how the diagnosis of motor neurone disease earlier this year has added a personal dimension to her research with colleagues on the ARC-funded project ‘How Australians navigate the healthcare maze: The differential capacity to choose’, and her teaching in research methods.