Video: Strength and Compassion in the Worst of Times by da-AL

In the worst situations, strength and compassion shine brightest. Terrible times strip away everything but what’s essential, leaving bare the best in us and those we encounter during our trials. 

The first time I learned the depth of this truth was when I co-produced a video for the Leukemia Society of America (nowadays Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). They’d hired my business partner, David Hunt (who has written for HBT here and here), and me (our non-profit company was called, Vista Educational Media) to encourage therapists, as well as people struggling with leukemia to get involved in the agency’s support groups. Executive Producer was Maureen Nunn. We videotaped at Wellness Community South Bay Cities, which is now Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach. The Los Angeles Times wrote of participant Roger Kahl’s valiant life here.

The way David and I worked was always to let subjects speak their truths, then we’d do our best to edit and narrate accurately. For each project, David and I would alternate who would be in charge and who would assist.

Thank goodness for this one David conducted the interviews, wrote, edited, and narrated. It took all I had not to sob while I stood to videotape behind the tripod. Reviewing it all these many years later, I still cry at the incredible bravery of the interviewees and David’s outstanding storytelling.

On David’s site, he details his experience with this project. Here’s his preliminary description for my site here…

“By the 1990s health educators understood that video-assisted storytelling was an effective way to engage patients and get them involved in their own health care. But many of the nation’s top health organizations, including the Leukemia Society, used actors as stand-ins for actual patients in their health education videos. In 1992 I was part of a documentary team that convinced the organization to trust people with leukemia to share their own stories.”

19 thoughts on “Video: Strength and Compassion in the Worst of Times by da-AL

  1. What an extraordinary experience, da-AL. I can well envision being unable to stop the tears when the interviewees told their stories. I was similarly effected when the wife of an attorney I worked with told me why she couldn’t attend a company function. I couldn’t bear that she routinely bore so much pain. She eventually passed away shortly after I went to work for another firm. I’ve never known anyone so very brave.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can imagine how hard that project must have been with such interviews. Sadly I can’t see the video but I think it’s a wonderful thing to do, to raise awareness of the support groups, and to give a voice to those with leukaemia to share their experiences themselves. I think that’s incredibly important. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Daal, I don’t know how you held the camera straight. I can see your tears as you listen to these people who are so gravely ill and so bravely honest. Such a powerful film, one that puts my own life’s irritations into perspective and humbles me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Video works now!
    This is fantastic, such a good idea to get an insight into those with these conditions through that support group. Where the woman says about the “We don’t all live forever” speech she was given.. I could have cried too. Definitely better than staged videos and actors/actresses. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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