Kansas Documentary To Focus On Polio Survivors

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Nathan Guy works at the historic Fox Theatre in downtown Hutchinson.

In the next few months, he could also debut his first documentary in both the theatre where he works -- and before an international audience during this spring's Post-Polio International Health Conference in Georgia.

"I'd like them to walk away feeling inspired," Guy said Monday afternoon.

He got the idea for the documentary after visiting with the Central Kansas Polio Survivors Support Group, or CKPS.

[A link to the CKPS homepage can be found under the 'Related Links' section at the bottom of this article. A nine-minute preview of Guy's documentary can be found at the top of this page.]

"Nathan is a great guy," says CKPS co-founder Jean Graber, also a Polio survivor and part of Guy's documentary. "Our goal is to help him achieve this, because it will help us too."

Graber survived Polio in 1952, considered the most devestating year in the United States with an estimated 58,000 or more infections and more than 3,000 deaths. Graber spent six weeks in an iron lung, lost all use of her left arm, and partial use of her right arm. Graber says she did more than just survive the illness.

"I adapted to life afterward," she says.

Graber went on to teach for nearly four decades, and today is a proud grandmother.

It's stories like Graber's that Guy wants others to hear.

"She's made it. It's not going to hold her down," Guy says. "She can go and do whatever she wants to do."

Guy's documentary, titled "Epidemic! Survivors' Spirit," will shoot during February, with editing planned in March and April.

Graber says the documentary will be used by several Kansas hospitals to help train nurses and doctors on how to better treat Post-Polio patients.

Guy hopes the documentary, which should run about an hour, will also remind today's generation of the challenges and obstacles that were overcome by those who came before them.

But Guy faces an obstacle of his own.

In order to complete the project, he needs $30,000 to pay for the equipment he'll need. Guys says he'll shoot the documentary in High Definition, a requirement in order to be shown at this year's Post-Polio Health Conference in April.

The Hutchinson Community Foundation presented Guy with a grant for $2,500 to get him started. Guy says he's since raised about 25% of his overall goal.

The 'Central Kansas Polio Survivors Support Group,' in connection with the Hutchinson Community Foundation, is taking donations specifically for Guy's project. His international debut is scheduled for the last week of April.

If you would like to help, follow the link below to the CKPS website, and click on 'Donate.'


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