By Chelsea Karnash
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – October 2nd is World Cerebral Palsy Day, and a Conshohocken woman is working to raise awareness with the help of yoga and a documentary film.
Fifteen years ago, Kerri Hanlon was told, “It’s tragic. Nothing can be done.” Her son, Sean, has cerebral palsy, and the doctors said he’d never walk or talk.
But these days, Hanlon is feeling much more positive.
“He was right,” she says. “Sean will never walk and talk, but yet he is the opposite of tragic. He is so filled with joy and such a social person. He forces you to engage with him.”
Hanlon, who sends Sean to the HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy in Philadelphia’s University City, met filmmaker Henry Nevison when he was there to create a video of the school. Instead, Nevison found the students and teachers so compelling that he decided to make a documentary film about them instead.
The film is called “On the Other Side of the Fence,” and its goal is to educate about those sometimes seen as being “on the other side of the fence,” people with cerebral palsy.
On Saturday, Kerri, a yoga devotee, led a special yoga class to raise money for the Kickstarter campaign that’s helping to fund the completion of the documentary. She says she raised nearly $700 for the cause, but that more is needed.
“We’re trying to reach as many people as possible,” Hanlon says, adding that she sees a connection between yoga and the film, since both deal with the “common themes of acceptance, finding joy and loving ‘what is.’”
And just like his mom, Sean enjoys yoga, too. Kerri says they often practice side-by-side, and though Sean’s yoga looks very different than hers, he “loves the breathing” exercises.
Sean also plays a role in the upcoming documentary, as “Bear,” along with his partner, Ezra. The two lead the song “Grin and Bear It,” which Kerri feels is a direct reflection of Sean’s strength.
“Grin and bear it – it’s what he does,” she says.
The Kickstarter campaign for “On the Other Side of the Fence” kicks off on Wednesday, World Cerebral Palsy Day.
To see the Kickstarter campaign or view the trailer for “On the Other Side of the Fence,” visit: http://kck.st/18MFrtP