How You Can Help

My name is Jeff Bemiss. I am an independent filmmaker and film instructor at Trinity College in Connecticut. Last year, my students and I made a 16-minute film called Coaching Colburn, about James Colburn, a young man with Fragile X Syndrome.

We shared the film with the Fragile X community and were blown away by the response. People from all over the world wrote to tell us their stories and how much they appreciate the film. We even heard from a family who had their son tested for Fragile X after seeing Coaching Colburn.

The film has now been expanded into a brand-new, 27-minute version, which follows James through a day in his life. The result is informative, poignant and inspirational. It is also very, very funny. After all, we’re talking about James Colburn.

About Our Outreach Effort

The Colburn family and I put together this campaign to support a major outreach effort for Coaching Colburn. This film is a volunteer project, but we need to raise at least $7,000 to submit Coaching Colburn to film festivals, to do the required marketing at those festivals, and to license music used in the film.

Not only will your contribution help us do this, but you will receive your very own high-definition digital copy of the new, expanded version of Coaching Colburn. Check out the perks we are offering in exchange for your support, and choose something fun. Our goal is to build an audience for the film and eventually get Coaching Colburn on television around the world!

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The brand new part of Coaching Colburn begins with this thought from James’s mother:

When I first hear from a young parent whose child has been diagnosed with Fragile X, they want to know how there can be happiness in the future. I tell them what life is like for our family today.”

I know you will find hope and inspiration in this brand new version of Coaching Colburn, which gives you a sense of James’s life today.

Why a Story Like Coaching Colburn is Important

Helping the Newly Diagnosed. Terrified, isolated parents of newly-diagnosed children are looking for information and want desperately to know what’s in store for them. We were touched by this email from a parent who saw the original version of Coaching Colburn:

“Nothing prepares you for the highs and lows of FX, but your film showed me what a wonderful life [my son] can lead. In my darkest days when I worry about him, I now think of James and I know everything is going to be ok. So thanks you from the bottom of my heart, you have given me hope and a goal to aim for.”

Awareness and Funding. Relatively few know what Fragile X is, including doctors. How can it receive optimal funding and scientific attention if no one’s heard of it? As a filmmaker, I also happen to be involved with another disease that I have seen progress from the shadow of anonymity into a red-hot field of research in just a few short years. It is possible!

Under Diagnosed. With up to 85% of Fragile X cases unidentified or misidentified, many families are struggling without the benefits that come with a medical diagnosis.

Wider Social Acceptance. Many either misunderstand Fragile X, or are afraid of it. They need a way to begin a conversation about Fragile X.

Other Ways You Can Help

Please spread the word by sharing this message via email and on social media. The more noise the better! Share, share share!

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