One day, Justin Skeesuck asked his lifelong best friend Patrick Gray if he'd like to hike across 500 miles of northern Spain. He was talking about the Camino de Santiago - a pilgrimage hike which, on foot, usually takes about a month to complete and is a challenge for any able-bodied person. It would be especially challenging for Patrick as he would have to push Justin in his wheelchair. Without hesitation, Patrick agreed and said, "I'll push you".
Over the past 20+ years, a progressive neuromuscular disease has slowly taken away Justin's ability to use his arms and legs. From each morning until night, Justin requires assistance in every aspect of life. Neuromuscular disorders, such as Justin's, are a group of diseases that damage and weaken muscles over time. For some people, the disease starts early in childhood or is evident at birth. Others don't have any symptoms until they are teenagers or adults, like Justin. More than 100,000 Americans are affected by a neuromuscular disease, including muscular dystrophy and ALS. MDA has funded more than $1 billion in neuromuscular disease research since 1950. Each year, MDA provides care and support to those individuals via best-in-class, comprehensive care at more than 150 MDA Care Centers. Each summer, about 3,800 kids experience "the best week of the year" at MDA Summer Camps across the country – all at no charge to their families.
Justin and Patrick's life-changing experience trekking 500 miles from the southwest of France, across the Pyrenees mountains to the Cathedral in Santiago in northern Spain despite Justin being in a wheelchair inspired them to help push others to achieve more. That's why they decided to share their story with the world in a new book and documentary film, both entitled "I'll Push You." Emota, Inc produced the film and is presenting it with Fathom Events and the MDA, which helps fund neuromuscular disorders and disease research that can lead to more people having experiences like this. The film will be presented in more than 550 theaters across the county in a special one-night-only release on Thursday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature information about MDA and the work the organization does to support families like Justin's. To purchase tickets or to make a donation please visit www.illpushyou.com.