Marc de Hond, my 35-year old Dutch friend, just sent me a 20-minute documentary that he wrote, produced and directed about a friend he met when they both were in a rehabilitation center in Amsterdam 11 years earlier. Marc is paralyzed from the chest down. Thanks to his very capable arms and hands, he now lives an independent life. His friend Hans is severely injured and cannot feel anything from his neck down. They hadn’t seen each other in over a decade. Marc had often thought of Hans. The short film is about their reunion.
English subtitles are available by just clicking the CC (closed caption) on the bottom righthand side of the screen. Marc recorded this on an iPhone 5, a Canon EOS 600D (DSLR) camera with sound, a Zoom H1, a Sennheiser MKE 400, and a Rode VC1.
Marc had been a deejay for an Amsterdam radio station, the goalkeeper of his soccer team, and one of the youngest Internet millionaires in Amsterdam as of the sale of his company, Hatchoo, when he was 22. A few months after the sale, a tumor was discovered on Marc’s spinal cord. Despite a risky operation, the mass was successfully removed. During the first few hours after the surgery, the night nurse failed to check the incision and a serious bleed was not picked up in time. The results were disastrous. When Marc woke up the following morning, he was paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors told him he would never walk again. In the rehabilitation center, the staff tried to prepare him for a new life in a wheelchair. He refused to accept that diagnosis and was determined to walk again at all costs. After months of meditation, training, and perseverance, there were some signs of improvement but not enough to make him walk again. Marc will fill you in on the rest in the video.
In his book Perseverance (“Kracht“ in Dutch), Marc writes candidly about the impact of his paralysis, including on love, sex, and his sense of self-worth. Marc is a frequent TED speaker. I’ve known Marc for almost 30 years. His father Maurice was a client for many years and today remains a close friend.