The Beatles once sang “All you need is love; love is all you need”. We’ve featured a variety of Kickstarter projects through our series of Making It Big. Documentaries about stamps and Inca monks, stop motion shorts and futuristic dystopian worlds – we’ve covered a lot of ground. However as soon as I clicked upon this project, I knew this could be the most beautiful and soul stirring of all. Welcome to Hope for Steve.
As the Kickstarter begins, it’s good to introduce the world of Steve and Hope Dezember immediately. In the summer of 2011, at the age of twenty-nine, Steve Dezember was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The doctors told Steve that he probably had two to five years to live. After the diagnosis was confirmed by a second opinion, Steve took his girlfriend of six months to their “spot” on the Chattahoochee riverbank just north of Atlanta. Small box in pocket, he took her by the hand and told her, “Look, I completely understand if you go . . . but if you don’t, will you marry me?” Her name was Hope, and she said “yes”.
Filmmaker Matthew Moore began his project nearly three years ago as he set out to show the story of Steve and Hope as the couple combated and dealt with the horrid disease. The very core of the piece was meant to be educational with emotional impact as through Steve, Moore would highlight the chronology of ALS and enlightening future sufferers of what to expect, and how they can best prepare themselves.
Yet as I’m sure you can recognise, these positive and phenomenal personalities are not simply going to produce a simple educational/preparation video. As filming and, sadly, Steve’s condition progressed, the disease took its place in the background. Moore realised this was not a story about a disease and its power over its sufferer and their next of kin, Hope for Steve highlights – as Huey Lewis and the News sang – the power of love. The story of two star crossed lovers battling the odds to lead their lives together and seize every moment. It may sound like so many teenager Tumblr posts but Steve and Hope Dezember are truly living in the now and highlighting the joy and strength of love.
The documentary itself follows the newlyweds as they plow through a collaborative bucket-list while Steve still is able to eat, breath, talk and move on his own. We get to see the couple’s honeymoon, their road trip across the country, and on-stage invitations from popular musicians such as Michael Franti, Gareth Asher, and Dave Matthews.
However as with the highs of their impeachable love, there are the obvious lows of this torrid disease. Hope has had to face the incredible challenge of being both Steve’s wife and his full-time caretaker. The once tenacious, joke-cracking, and initially optimistic Steve had to come to terms that he would spend the rest of his life relying on his wife to fight all of his physical battles for him. As we’ve noted all along, this is not a story about a disease but one about a two individuals bound by love yet each having to face their own individual mountains and inner conflicts.
This documentary aims to add to their huge popularity in their Atlantan community and online via Facebook. With the film already complete, the Kickstarter wisely and clearly set out what your money would actually be used for. So many Kickstarters mainly fling out one line explanations which to the average Joe means little to nothing. However, they’ve already achieved their goal within 14 days of being online yet if there’s a worthier cause deserving of your attention I’ve yet to see it. This is a love story, and a beautiful one at that. It’s a project we wholeheartedly recommend you view and support.
All photos courtesy of the HOPE for Steve Facebook page. Please like their page and follow them here.
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