Writing For Ryan
Writing has always been my first love. However, I did not initially choose it as a career path. In pursuing an Associates of Arts in communications and liberal studies, I discovered a passion love for behavioral psychology and criminology. While raising my children, I continued my education and earned a B.A.S in both areas of study. Later, working as a Therapeutic Behavioral Specialist, I suffered a severe spinal cord injury that abruptly ended my career and my post-graduate studies. It was determined that I was "disabled" and I faced many years of physical rehabilitation.
During this time, I also discovered I had congenital Chiari Malformation, Ehler's Danlos Syndrome, and a few common comorbid conditions. In researching these conditions and disorders, I met Zona. Due to her own health issues, she solicited my help to finish a book she had begun but could not complete, and Writing For Ryan was born. The project has since morphed into a documentary, and with a learn-as-I-go mentality, and the help of our many talented volunteers, I am now writing and producing the film. To learn more about my and my family's personal experiences with traumatic brain injury, please click here.
I am a recent graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Film and Psychology. When I first met Gia she immediately unloaded onto me the stories of the families featured in our project. I was saddened, curious and overwhelmed. These stories are very heavy with glimpses of light here and there. I hope to do these warriors justice in showcasing their stories to raise awareness of Chiari and bring more light into their lives. My mother recently passed away due to liver cancer and because she wasn't a legal citizen of the U.S. she was unable to get on the transplant list. I definitely think that big pharma and the health industry needs to make some changes. We hope our project can educate some doctors and medical staff on how to better diagnose and treat those suffering with Chiari malformation. In the future I would like to work on advocating for people that might not be citizens of the U.S. but still need medical care.
I've always loved movies since I was kid and was constantly curious about the creative and technical process behind the magic I saw on the screen. I recently graduated from the university of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in film and digital media. I concentrated on production within the major and was exposed to being behind the camera on my own. Initially, I was intimidated until I began to work on my first projects and then could not believe that I hadn't been doing this earlier.
One of my strongest passions became documentaries because they provide a platform to give underserved communities a voice. It seemed to be the perfect outlet to advocate for social justice issues. My friend and classmate Mariamor had mentioned to me that she was working on a project with Gia, whom she had connected with via Craigslist. I had never heard of chiari malformation before and when i heard Gia's story, I felt a great sense of urgency. I believe making this documentary will provide a space to spread awareness of chiari malformation as well as injustices within the healthcare system. I could not be more grateful to be a part of it!