Documentary Gives PT Students Intimate Look at Effects of MS

A group of Columbia physical therapy students, faculty, and staff attended a special screening of Jason DaSilva’s acclaimed documentary,” When I Walk.” Jason DaSilva was 25 years old and a rising, award-winning documentary filmmaker when a diagnosis of primary-progressive multiple sclerosis changed his life. “When I Walk” focuses on his struggle to adapt to the harsh realities of MS while maintaining his personal and creative life. The film has screened at various festivals, including Sundance and Canadian Hot Docs, and garnered numerous awards.

The screening was organized by faculty members Ashwini Rao, EdD, associate professor of rehabilitation & regenerative medicine, and Clare Bassile, EdD, assistant professor of rehabilitation & regenerative medicine. “Jason’s film,” says Dr. Rao, “provides an intimate look on how illness affects personal and professional life.”

Mr. DaSilva was scheduled to visit Columbia for a post-screening discussion, but he was unable to make it because he could not find an accessible taxi. Instead, he answered questions from the audience via Skype. He and his wife, Alice Cook, have created an app called AXS Map, a tool for sharing reviews of the wheelchair-accessibility of businesses and other places. Their next project is a sequel to “When I Walk.”

“When I Walk” is available on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.