Debilitating Mystery Illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Explained in New Film Canary in a Coal Mine
First-time filmmaker Jennifer Brea offers firsthand insights into daily effects of M.E.
PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — It turned out to be the beginning of a long illness — including neurological dysfunction and extreme exhaustion — that she has yet to recover from. When the medical community did not recognize her illness and worse, dismissed it as hysteria, Brea did her own research and discovered that there is a name for what she was experiencing: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) – misleadingly sometimes known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a devastating, misunderstood and ignored disease affecting millions.
To call attention to the plight of those suffering from M.E., Brea is making a film, titled Canary in a Coal Mine, to offer firsthand insight into what it feels like to live with this debilitating disease.
M.E. is, in fact, only one name for a devastating neurological disease that has gone by many names since the 1930s: atypical polio, Icelandic Disease, Royal Free Hospital Disease, and most recently, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The disease is not taught in medical schools and, therefore, goes unrecognized by doctors.
Many patients – 75%-85% of whom are women – meet with doctors for years without any recognition that they are physically ill. Patients are told to go about their lives as before, or worse yet, to exercise, only to become permanently worse.
The disease has been called as disabling as living with congestive heart failure or AIDS, two months before death. Only 5-10% recover. Many are ill for decades. 25% are homebound or bedridden.
The film, due to be completed in December 2015, has already created early buzz:
-- To date, it has raised $175,000 of a $50,000 goal on Kickstarter.com -- Voted indieWire project of the week -- Awarded Special Jury Prize at Paley Center DocPitch Competition by POV & A&E IndieFilms
She hopes that in making this film, she can help more doctors understand the seriousness of the illness and help new patients get diagnosed and treated appropriately. “It’s ignorance that is the real villain in this disease.”
Press info, photos: http://www.canaryinacoalminefilm.com/#!press-kit/c4qz
Social media response: http://canaryfilm.blogspot.com/2013/10/what-community-is-saying-about-canary.html
Storytelling website: http://canaryfilm.tumblr.com/
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SOURCE Jennifer Brea