What Did Heather Do?

What Did Heather Do?

 Part I  Page I

Journalists, medical professionals, and people around the world have commented on their understanding of what Heather did.

Ten years of research, travels with Heather and Kim*, reading meeting their guides, reviewing a hundred hours of tape, and experiments on myself are embedded in the subtext of “The Healing of Heather Garden”.

Each person sees the film a little differently,  adding their knowledge.  I’d like to take you on my journey of understanding “What Did Heather Do?”

My journey of understanding

I entered into the project with a puzzle to solve.  I saw a strong woman, Heather Garden, who could shovel a ten-foot snowdrift to free her half-ton truck, then drive down a country road to manage a staff of thirty-five employees in a new business.  At the same time I saw news coverage of others trapped in suffering with a disease said to be incurable – multiple sclerosis in the Secondary Progressive stage, a disease Heather had eliminated from her body.

Doctor’s told Heather,  “Just enjoy the good days.  Get ready for the future.  You will no longer be able to go up and down stairs.  You have to move out of your house. Get wheelchair ramps…”

“What did Heather do?” everyone asked.

Beginning steps

I began with interviews.  My first effort  was with the help of a ten-year-old Michael Maloney assisting as sound man.  Good interview.  No sound.  Then, I won two opera tickets and traded these for the professional skills of Victor Dobchuk.  These interviews with Heather and her friend Kim lasted four hours and provided a framework for the film.

My exploration began,  “What was it that happened?  You were very, very sick, and then something changed. What was it that changed.  How did you go from being very sick to getting well?”

Heather paused a long, long time, selecting her words carefully.

“Hope.  Hope came into my life.”

It was so – nebulous.  Struggling to make sense of this, I asked,  ”What was it that brought the hope?”