|By Keith Mahne|
The Disney community is unlike any other. It's filled with amazing people who love to help each other out and enjoy reveling in the magic together. Although we are all different, we all share and have experienced that feeling you get when you walk into a Disney Park. We all know that feeling of safety and escape it provides us. Someone who really appreciates that comfort is a wonderful man named Guy Spagnoli. I've had the pleasure of speaking with Guy personally and felt his genuine spirit and love of Walt Disney and the magic he has created for this world. Guy is a Vietnam veteran, and just like all of our service men and women, is a hero in my opinion. He put his life on the line when his country called. He has suffered tremendously from witnessing the horridness of war, and continues to do so to this day as he was diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is one thing that keeps him going and at peace....the magic of Disney! Guy is currently the subject of a documentary in production called Keep Moving Forward about his struggles with PTSD and how he uses Disney to self medicate. I think it's an important story to be told and one we can all relate to. Please continue after the page break for more important information on this project...
|Guy Spagnoli at his home.|
About a year ago, director, editor, and co-producer Brent Bandemer was an editor on a short documentary film about a Vietnam War veteran, Guy Spagnoli. The film was about his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result from the Vietnam War.
|Guy in Vietnam|
The one thing missing was that the film had not touched on the parts of Guy's life that had clearly inspired him to overcome the daily adversities of PTSD and to have made his dream come true of graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in cinematography.
|Guy Spagnoli on set as cinematographer.|
As an editor, Brent spends a lot of time getting to know his subjects, and he ended up sending Guy a friend request on Facebook so he could stay in touch. Almost immediately, he started to notice a trend with Guy's posts...EVERYTHING was about Disney! More than half of his pictures were at Disney World or of him dressed as a Disney character. In fact, just about every single post he shared was from a Disney Facebook page.
|Guy as Mr. Incredible|
Then, one day, Guy shared this Walt Disney quote: "We seek to estimate the future and its bearing on our existence, as well as dwelling fondly on the past or indulging in escapist dreams." Brent started to wonder...were there underlying psychological factors in this obsession over Disney that helped him escape the events he experienced in the war? He realized he had finally found the other half of the film. He told Guy that he wanted to continue filming him but focus on his Disney fascination and the support he receives from his family, and Guy insisted that the filmmakers come out to his home.
|Laura Spagnoli and Guy Spagnoli at their home.|
What the filmmakers and Guy hope to achieve with this film is to raise awareness of PTSD and its victims, explore alternatives to medication, and most of all, share a story about a brave man who despite the war in his mind, uses a little imagination, and keeps moving forward.
And so friends, I come to you today with a very important request. The filmmakers need your help and support in order to finish this documentary and raise awareness for Veterans suffering from PTSD. I'm sure many of us can relate with Guy and his wife Laura. You may have someone you know that suffers from this condition. I ask that you please take a moment to share this campaign with a friend or, even better, consider donating to the Keep Moving Forward Kickstarter campaign so that we can see this thing through. As I said in the beginning of this article, the Disney community is filled with amazing people who love to help each other out and I truly believe that. We need those people now. We need you! Please consider helping make this project into a reality...even if it's a dollar....every bit counts.
I appreciate your help and hopefully, in a few short months, we'll be watching this heartfelt documentary knowing that we really did help our veterans to "keep moving forward".
Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.
Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.