About the film
Tim Borland, a 31-year-old father of two discovers his talent for endurance running is no longer fulfilled in the competitive realm. He meets 15-year-old Cathryn Achilles who is diagnosed with the rare terminal disease Ataxia-Telangiectasia. Despite the progressive loss of her ability to walk, talk, eat and sing Cathryn’s unwavering spirit inspires Borland to draw attention to the little known disease. He embarks on the A-T Cure Tour. In the fall of 2007, Borland runs 63 consecutive marathons (26.2 miles) spanning more than 14-thousand miles, 29 States, 1 Canadian Province and 63 communities where A-T children live. Every step of the journey, Borland pushes a mobility-jogging stroller that either carries an A-T child or a banner bearing the name of child who has died. Battling excessive heat, drastic elevation changes, drenching downpours and hurricane strength winds, one man connects families and children whose hope for a cure and life prolonging treatment is further complicated because so few are impacted.
Along the journey, filmmakers intimately introduce audiences to three A-T families whose children are experiencing different stages of the disease. Mark and Laura Lesperance of Neenah, Wisconsin, have two boys Max and Jake. At three months old, Jake was the youngest diagnosed case of A-T. Both boys struggle with compromised immune systems and showcase the typical first signs of the disease with a wobbly walk.
John and Marcia Wood of Lemont, Illinois adopted five children. Eleven-year-old Alyssa was three when she joined their family. Looking back at the video footage they captured at the orphanage in Vietnam, they now see the balance problems that are telltale signs of her terminal disease. Today, the 5th grader has a love of life that draws people to her like a magnet. Alyssa exemplifies the typical progression of A-T, as most kids are in wheelchairs by age 10.
Sixteen-year-old Cathryn Achilles has lost her ability to play the harp and piano. She is wheelchair bound and each night a feeding tube pumps vital calories into her stomach. She enjoys quilting, picking on her younger brother and participating in her local theatre company. It is Cathryn who inspired Tim’s amazing endeavor. The harsh reality of what A-T kids face everyday fuels Tim to complete each day’s marathon course. When Borland crosses the finish line in New York City, he’ll get a break. But, the race to find a cure continues.
FEAT exemplifies the limitless potential of the human body and spirit when focused on a goal greater than oneself.