Salt Lake Community College teamed up with the National Ability Center on Wednesday, April 20 to raise awareness for individuals who live with disabilities and promote disability awareness.
SLCC screened two documentaries as a preview to the ReelAbilities Film Festival, which begins May 20. The films demonstrate that a person with disabilities can do amazing things.
A space pioneer
“The Astronaut’s Secret” tells the story of Michael Clifford, an American astronaut who performed a spacewalk on the Mir space station in 1996 after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Clifford was cleared by doctors and began to prepare for the mission. He did not want to make his condition public at the time because it would have affected the important points of the spacewalk.
15 years later, Clifford revealed that he had performed the spacewalk with the disease. He currently gives speeches around the country, inspiring people who are afflicted with Parkinson’s.
A ride to recovery
“Riding My Way Back” follows former Staff Sgt. Aaron Heliker. After serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he returned home with brain trauma, third-degree burns, nerve damage and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Struggling to fight his new battles, and on the brink of suicide, Heliker found solace through equine-assisted therapy and his new four-legged friend, Fred.
Adaptive sports empower the disabled
There are different types of adaptive sports to help the disabled try activities that they would not normally be able to do. The National Ability Center is a leading organization that provides access to people of all ages and abilities.
“Anyone who has a desire to be mobile and active can through the NAC’s specialized adaptive outdoor equipment,” says SLCC English professor Melissa Helquist, who organized the screenings.
The documentaries helped to illustrate the point that that being disabled does not mean the end of a joyful and active life.
For more information on the different programs at the National Ability Center, visit discovernac.org.