Last month, we were honored to be a part of the premier “Mr. Connolly Has ALS,” a new documentary following Gene Connolly in his final year as Concord High School Principal. The film exuded Mr. Connolly’s bright energy and love for life, despite his ALS diagnosis in 2014. While serving as Principal for 14-years, he emphasized kindness and compassion and made a point to forge personal relationships with many of the school’s 1,600 students.
The documentary filmmaker, Dan Habib, beautifully captures Mr. Connolly’s positive energy as we witness him lose his ability to walk and speak as his disease progresses. During the film, Mr. Connolly sits down with his students to answer any question they have. A highlight is Dan’s son, Samuel, a high school student living with cerebral palsy, discussing difficult topics with Mr. Connolly. Neither of them spoke, but communicated using hand gestures and assistive technology devices. His discussions are filled with valuable lessons that show how he shaped his positive perspective on life – the importance to live life fully, develop resilience, and show love freely.
During the screening, Mr. Connolly and Dan live chatted with the audience. Two of the most liked comments included:
“Cara – I think about the people who are my inspiration – it is my wife. People could not imagine how much she does for me. When you get married, you vow to love each other in and in health. Well, my wife Patty is doing just that and trust me, I have become a lot of work.” – Mr. Connolly
“I hear you Randy. My son Samuel uses a communication device – that’s what inspired me to do this film; seeing him and Samuel communicate – without words, just using their devices.” – Dan Habib
After the screening, Mr. Connolly and Dan took time to answer questions from the audience via a live video feed.
This premier screening was held on August 29, 2017 with at least one other to be scheduled in the near future. The ALS Association will be on hand again to answer questions about ALS via chat. Once we receive more information about future screenings, we will share with our entire ALS community. Thank you to Mr. Connolly, his wife Patty, his son Jim, his entire family, Dan Habib and his son Samuel, and the Concord High School student body for taking part in this beautiful documentary.
For more information about the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6805494/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt