Ryan Prior’s life imploded October 22, 2006 when he was struck down by a disease that dozens of doctors were powerless to diagnose, let alone treat. The medical enigma, myalgic encephalomyelitis, denigrated as “chronic fatigue syndrome” by the CDC, becomes the greatest struggle of his life. Against great odds, he becomes a reporter for USA Today and ventures to tell the story of his suffering and improbable recovery. The piece strikes a galvanizing chord across the patient population and the outcry from readers is intense. They tell of lives lived for years bedridden in darkened rooms, tales of losing all support from family, colleagues, and friends. Some teeter on thoughts of suicide as the only outlet for a type of suffering the medical system doesn’t even recognize, let alone properly treat. As a journalist, Ryan feels he has a unique position, even a duty, to help bring this injustice to light. The response prompts him to enter into a much deeper investigation into the historic roots of the disease and into current and future research into finding its cause and ultimate cure.
Through Kickstarter, online donations, and private donors, Forgotten Plague managed to gain momentum, filming in 9 U.S. states, obtaining nearly 100 interviews and 80 hours of original footage. A mere $120,000 budget from 300+ donors across 8 nations. And a 40+ member choir recorded their voices for the film’s choral soundtrack.
The crew filmed in California, Nevada, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. They have filmed innovative research ongoing at the Open Medicine Foundation, Simmaron Research, the Hunter-Hopkins Center, and the Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine.
They have filmed many of the top experts in the field: Daniel Peterson, Andy Kogelnik, Ron Davis, Nancy Klimas, Gordon Broderick, Charles Lapp, Judy Mikovits, Staci Stevens, Chris Snell, Mark Van Ness, and many others.
The film is now officially available in iTunes in 80 countries, particularly many European countries that we’ve been fighting hard to get into. The translations are downloadable via iTunes in Norwegian, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian.
In addition to general distribution, we created a two-tiered program such that physicians, nurses, patients, and families can directly benefit from the documentary in a timely fashion:
1.) CME Course Credit–With further funding, we can create a system by which physicians and nurses who watch the film can receive continuing medical education (CME) credit
2.) Direct Information–Physicians today are increasingly taught to become partners with engaged patients who bring significant knowledge and research to appointments. Physicians also have less time to read multi-disciplinary journal articles. As part of that trend in medicine, we are creating a system and information package such that patients can give the documentary directly to their physicians in order to improve care.
We at the Blue Ribbon Foundation continue to welcome all donations and contributions from those wishing to support the cause for ME/CFS awareness by either direct donation, holding a screening, or volunteering with outreach and advocacy.
For more information on the film, you can visit the film’s official website.
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