Musings of a PR Professional

Darius Goes West

I just returned from the screening of Darius Goes West, a documentary about a young man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). It followed him as he journeyed from Athens, GA to Los Angeles, CA. It was a trip that allowed him to see many of the things that he wanted to see, and thought he never could because of his disability. The documentary was extremely moving- I laughed, cried, and saw the world through the eyes of a child with Muscular Dystrophy. There were two main goals of the film: raise awareness about DMD and raise awareness about the need for more handicap accessible buildings/attractions/etc.

At one point during the film, Darius and his friends visited The Gateway Arc in St. Louis, MO. However, they were unable to go up to the top of the arc because it was not handicap accessible. Red flag: BAD PR. This film has received a lot of press and has had many, many showings. So, when people watch this documentary they are seeing The Gateway Arc through the eyes of a disabled person unable to take part in the structures excitement. This, therefore, sends the strong message that The Gateway Arc and organizations associated with it do not care about the needs of the disabled. A bad image to be portraying to so many people, I must say.

On the other hand, Charley’s Fund, a fund set up to raise and give¬†money to researchers working to find a cure for DMD. The family who began Charley’s Fund is a sub-plot in the film who garner a lot of ethos throughout the film. By being included in this documentary that, again, is being seen by innumerable people nation-wide, they are getting great PR. Their name is being put out there and put into the minds of demographics that would otherwise have never heard of them. This documentary is certainly a great vehicle for their fund.

If you have not seen the documentary, I urge you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go see it.