Some of you may remember the movie "Fighting for Life" directed by my friend Terry Sanders
Terry was recently honored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. The following article is reproduced in full from the Orthopedics this Week newsletter, and best of all: it has news of the film's hero, Spc. Crystal Davis!
Also think about checking out the Wounded in Action art site organized by the AAOS:
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The Soldier in the Pink Dress
Robin Young • Tue, May 4th, 2010
Her name is Crystal. The dress was certainly pink and it showed plenty of Crystal’s shoulder, back and front. Crystal was standing among a small group of award winners for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) banquet this past week in Washington. D.C. Amidst the blue, gray, and black suits and evening gowns, Crystal was a colorful exotic flower.
She also had large tattoos on both shoulders, back and, yes, over the swell of her bosom.
It was hard not to notice Crystal. Lauren Pearson, AAOS’s Manager of Media Relations told me that Crystal was the subject of a documentary that was a MORE award winner for 2009. She’s an amputee.
All of the MORE award winners sit in the front row of a large room and then walk up to a podium when called. John J. Callaghan, M.D., President of AAOS this year, did the honors. The film, Fighting for Life, was the last MORE award winner to be called. Terry Sanders (co-producer and two-time Academy Award winning film maker), Tammy Alvarez (executive producer), Sgt Abdul Madjid, USMC, one of the subjects of the film and SPC Crystal Davis, U.S. Army, the other subject of the film, came to the podium.
The film documents today’s military surgeons as they go through training and then deployment. It also follows two casualties of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they are treated by these military surgeons and nurses. In the film we meet Crystal Davis as she is being medivaced. Her surgeon is telling her that he had to amputate her left leg and her right leg was iffy. She’s negotiating hard to keep the right leg.
SPC Crystal Davis is an Army truck driver. Every other truck passed over that particular stretch of gravel in Iraq in 2008 but when Crystal’s truck went over, the hidden IED detonated.
Like all great art, this film captures the powerful emotional journey that Crystal, her family, and her caregivers went through. There were very few dry eyes in the audience this past Wednesday night. Even Crystal’s. When the time came for the filmmaker and producer to come to podium, Crystal came too. She also said a few words.
Paraphrasing her, she said: “I want to thank the filmmakers for helping me through my recovery. I wanted to do my best in front of the camera so having them there motivated me. I said to myself, if I can work hard in front of the camera, I can work hard behind the camera too. So I did.” Crystal also thanked her father and other family members and then she ended with a joke. “So, thank you to the doctors and the filmmakers for helping me to get a leg up.”
The standing ovation lasted about 10 minutes.
The intersection of art, war, and orthopedics can be unexpectedly affecting. In addition to this particular film—which is available from the American Film Foundation (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ) and we strongly, highly, urgently suggest that your hospital or community group or church rent a copy of this film and show it—there is an exhibition and book of such art that is also available.
Sandy Gordon, AAOS’s Public Relations Director, organized both the MORE Award and the exhibit of war time art as created by surgeons and nurses! To learn more about the AAOS Wounded in Action art exhibit, please visit the Web site: http://www.woundedinactionart.org/ or contact Sandy Gordon, AAOS Public Relations Director, at 847 384-4030 or email@example.com.