It is rare for me to come across something that I find so compelling that I have to act. A good friend of mine recently commented to me that we often come in contact with situations which impress upon us and move us, but they do not impact us enough to actually do something about it. For some it’s poverty and/or homelessness. For others, like Mike and Heather Colletto, it’s the trafficking and subsequent slavery of another human being – the robbing of another of that individuals’ inherent dignity bestowed upon them by the Creator by seeing them as less than human and ensnaring them in to a life of bondage either by deception or force. Still, for others it is the sacredness of human life – especially the unborn. This is a cause to which I have attached myself, along with countless other friends and strangers. In the midst of ALL that seems to be transpiring in our great Nation over this issue in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a particular “sub-issue’ which isn’t addressed all that often, maybe because it gets wrapped up into the various facets of the larger issues at play within the Pro-Life Cause. This crucial “sub-issue” is the “quality of life” for individuals with medical conditions, physical challenges, handicaps, disabilities – call it what you like.

Previously, I wrote about my experience being interviewed on this very subject by an Emmy-winning pro-life television show, because of my life experiences, trials, and triumphs with Cerebral Palsy. Since that interview four weeks ago to the day, this issue of quality of life, the importance of it, and the lies surrounding it have been made starker than ever before.

Almost two weeks ago, I was present for a subcommittee hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a hearing on Rep. Joe Pitts’s Protect Life Act to ensure no funding for abortion in Obamacare (since this hearing the bill has made it though sub-committee, full committee, and is likely to see floor action). During this hearing (which degraded into a circus at certain points) a member of the minority on the committee lamented the lack of access to abortion (if this bill becomes law) for the purpose of terminating a pregnancy wherein a fetus is determined to have a disability (just about a direct quote and certainly the spirit of the comments is not lost in how I phrased it). I caught this and my mind exploded. Here I was observing all this and I had to hear those words. The underlying “wisdom” in society is that such a life/baby/child does not deserve a chance because they will not have a good quality of life and/or raising such a child is too much of a burden to the parents (mother – since Planned Parenthood doesn’t really want the father involved at all). This is often how society is urged to think by purveyors of culture and it is a pernicious and sinister LIE. This “wisdom” is the under-girding foundation upon which that comment was uttered in the hearing last week – and people BELIEVE it. There I was, the proof to discredit this lie and no one knew because I wasn’t allowed to speak out because it would have broken decorum rules in a committee hearing.

Reeling from that experience over the last two weeks after it has been seared into my brain, I came across a blog post last Wednesday that floored me. Zack Arnold is the editor of the popular show Burn Notice on USA Network that happens to star Bruce Campbell among others. Zack’s blog post details his “Passion Project” (ironic/awesome since he edited the trailer for Passion of the Christ): a documentary about the late Chris Rush, a metro Detroit native and dear friend to Zack. Chris was a quadriplegic with Muscular Dystrophy who at a young age became an ambassador for Jerry’s Kids, met President Regan, was designated a honorary NASA astronaut, and as an avid Star Wars fan caught the attention of some of the crew who worked on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Reading Zack’s blog post (twice) and watching the footage he had already edited together, I couldn’t help but ask myself “how can I help here, what can I do?” So I contacted Zack, and surprisingly heard back. Over the course of a few hours (as I told my own story and shared footage of The FENX Project and Zack expounded on Chris’s saga) I began to realize what a fantastic project this really is, and how much like Chris I actually am – we’d have been great friends given the chance. Since Zack is trying to raise $10,000 – with almost $5,000 raised as of this writing – to go out to Las Vegas for the next Muscular Dystrophy telethon organized by Jerry Lewis’s organization (and to try and interview Jerry himself) I’ve been trying to get the story out to folks in DC and around the country who might have an interest because they are familiar with my life and it’s triumphs and trials.

In this project, I see an excellent opportunity to showcase the quality of life someone can have while encouraging and inspiring others to live their own lives to their maximum potential; Chris did that. In the face of a culture that creates molds and an erroneous concept of the ideal which says “if you do not meet this you do not belong, we do not want you” – Chris lived and excelled. He reached higher and achieved more than anyone in the beginning (save his family – and I know how that is) thought possible, and that legacy has a chance to be immortalized.

I look forward to the day when Chris and I will walk together on streets of gold and talk about how our faith in Christ sustained us though trial, as we appreciate something for eternity that we never were able to experience as intended on Earth. One day, two Star Wars fans will race from one galaxy to the next to “be the first one to see them all” (as a young Anakin Skywalker once exclaimed).

Riding Towards Eternity to meet Him (and Chris),

Aaron

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Comments
  1. […] much but is no longer with us on this earth.    I didn’t know what I was getting into, but as I wrote last year, I felt compelled to find a way to help Zack in his quest to honor Chris in this way.  I sure […]

  2. […] of”GO FAR” the documentary about his close friend, the late Chris Rush.  I’ve shared Chris’s story before and the progress that has been made in this effort to showcase the life of one man to […]

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