Hope on the Horizon Screening - The Irvine Family

Hope on the Horizon Screening - The Irvine Family

As we headed up to CT for a screening of Hope on the Horizon to benefit Rob & Melissa Irvine I was apprehensive, as I always am, about how many people would attend and how much we would be able to raise to help them with Rob’s medical needs.  I had never met Rob or Melissa and knew them only through their pictures and correspondence on Facebook.  They felt a special connection to the film because the last thing they did before Rob was diagnosed was to climb Mt. Washington.  Their plan was to climb it every year with their family and friends but that was not meant to be as the realities of ALS presented themselves.

My sister, Darlene, and I arrived at the theater anxious to meet the family and a friend, Jeff, who had helped me set up the screening and ticket sales.  Jeff got there about the same time we did and we talked for a bit about how close the community is and how they have rallied for Rob & Melissa organizing several successful fundraiser for them, with another one planned at the end of the month. 

Melissa, Rob and their daughters came in and my first thought was, my God they are so young, I hate this fu@#ing disease, they don’t look much older then my kids and their daughters are so young, too young to have to watch their father battle this horrible disease and, knowing what the outcome will be, my heart broke for them.   Melissa talked to us about Rob’s progression, he had been getting worse in the last few months and, although she was trying to keep a smile on her face, there was that underlying sadness you see in the eyes of everyone that loves someone with ALS and knows the realities of it.  She introduced us to the girls, 7, 9 & 12 yrs old, but all well beyond their years.  ALS will do that.  I was a little concerned about them watching the film, there are parts that are hard to watch and I hated for them to think about their dad getting to that point in the future. 

I have watched this film more times then I can count but it still brings tears to my eyes every time.   A part of me doesn’t like to share it with ALS families but I also know they are well aware of the realities of this awful disease.  As we always do, there was a Q&A after the film; Josh and I were both happy to answer questions.  Melissa & Rob’s youngest daughter was sitting up front and raised her hand.  I looked at her and said, “Do you have a question?”  She nodded her head yes and looked at Josh and said, “What did you wear on your feet?”  Josh smiled and said, “The boots I’m wearing right now, but I like yours better.”  He was referring to her pink cowboy boots.  She raised her hand again and this time her question was, “How many people donated today?”

We spent some time after the film talking to some of their friends and family, it is always so nice to see a community rally around an ALS patient and their family, it means so much and makes such a difference in their lives.  You could definitely see how much Melissa, Rob and the girls were loved and when you meet them it is not hard to see why. 

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet them and provide them with some financial support as Rob battles ALS.  They are part of the HARK family now and we will continue to support them any way we can.


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