This feature documentary is a portrait of Robert Coley-Donohue a man living with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal degenerative neuro-muscular disease that strikes two in 100,000 people. The film follows Robert over the last 3 years of his life. His experience is arduous, but also filled with hope and healing. If, like Robert, we can face death with grace and the comfort of family and friends, then death will hold less fear.
Ages 15 to 18
Study Guide - Guide 1
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Social Studies - Social Policies and Programs
Warnings: Emotional content. Robert and his children cry several times as the ALS progresses, and Robert also cries during a visit to his wife’s grave.
Summary with teaching points
This documentary follows Robert as he deteriorates after a diagnosis of ALS. After viewing the film, students can discuss the impact ALS has on mental health and on the family and friends. As Robert’s disease progresses, he loses independence. Students could discuss the role of society in caring for those who are dying. In the end Robert decides to have the G-tube removed. Discuss the rights dying people have as their body fails them. Students could research ALS or other progressive diseases. Have there been changes in the treatment of ALS since the film was made?