When a sick young girl Ashleigh Harley is diagnosed with an incurable illness nobody can see she fights against the perceptions of disability to get her sport recognised at the World Paralympic Games. Surviving on a liquid diet and struggling to walk, she finds freedom on the back of a very special horse.
Family made documentary in collaboration with the Oscar® winning team Slick Films to raise awareness of invisible disabilities. Featuring the Paralympics, British Showjumping, the FEI, Mind Body EDS, EDS Support UK, InvisiYouth Charity and the Tim Stockdale Foundation
“When my illness put me in a wheelchair I set out to challenge myself and film people from all walks of life struggling with disability. One day amidst the filming, we stopped rolling the cameras because important message was screaming to be delivered —
That even though what we saw down the lens was the physical pain of disability, we all shared this very same pain. We ALL lived with some kind of pain in our lives.
It didn’t matter who. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, the camera revealed that we are all dealing with some kind of adversity. There is no kind of adversity more difficult than the other. They all hurt. They all present challenge. They all make us feel alone. It was right then and there I realised something:
It is our adversity in life that connects us as a humanity. Our pain; sadness and loneliness connects us because it’s something we all feel.
Therefore the moments when we feel most isolated by our own unique challenge in life, is in fact the moment we are all most connected to each other. The challenge wasn’t a bad thing, it is what actually made a person unique. Strong. Powerful. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. So don’t run away from your pain. Use it. Learn how to wield it. Use your greatest pain in life to become your greatest strength.
In the same way a swordsmith smelts the steel of his sword to smith into a powerful weapon, and in the same way a blacksmith shapes a horseshoe with the hit of a hammer – use your challenges and adversity in life to shape yourself. To strengthen yourself.
Iron is not strengthened lying around in inertia. If left like this, it rusts. Iron only becomes stronger when refined by fire.
Therefore each time the hammer of misfortune strikes, yes, it’s going to hurt, but perhaps we can use that pain strengthen us, unite us, even save us. 1 in 10 people in the world live with invisible often life-threatening illnesses. Everywhere you go in life there are people suffering all around you. And you can’t see it.
So it’s time to make a change, let’s see the unseen, let’s make the invisible…
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