Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Emmanuel's Gift

Lax, L. and Stern, N. (Producer) & Lax, L and Stern, N. (Director). (2005). Emmanuel’s gift [Motion picture]. United States: First look studios, inc.

Emmanuel’s Gift is the a story of hope in the face of extreme adversity. Emmanuel Ofusa Yeboah was born in Ghana to a large family. Emmanuel was born with a deformed right leg which is the reason his father abandoned his family. Doctors predicted that Emmanuel would never walk, but he proved them wrong running and even playing soccer with the aid of crutches. Emmanuel’s mother, determined that her son would not live in poverty, begging on the street like so many disabled in Ghana, worked hard to send her son to school. When Emmanuel was thirteen his mother fell ill and he left school and home to move to the capital Accra to find and job and support the family.

Unfortunately Emmanuel’s mother did not recover and passed away. After her death Emmanuel was inspired to learn to ride a bicycle and cycle across Ghana in hopes of improving the image of the disabled. The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) granted Emmanuel a mountain bike and he went to work training.

After completing the 600 km ride across Ghana, CAF flew Emmanuel to San Diego to participate in their 56 mile bike ride. While in San Diego CAF also helped Emmanuel get surgery to have his deformed leg amputated and receive a prosthetic that would allow Emmanuel to walk without the aid of crutches for the first time in his life.

After returning to Ghana Emmanuel continued to work with CAF to help disabled athletes in Ghana. Emmanuel also campaigned for a disability bill, staging marches and protests to get government attention. Additionally Emmanuel received the Casey Martin Award which helped him set up a scholarship fund for disabled children.

Emmanuel is an inspiring athlete and human rights advocate who has overcome adversity to accomplish a lifetime of work in a few short years. Emmanuel’s Gift is a beautifully film biographical documentary which gives viewers an accurate picture of what life is like for the disabled in Ghana. Emmanuel is a true hero who is devoted to improving the lives of others.

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