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Power of Film Brings Awareness of Rare Disease

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Films can be entertaining. But they can also do much more. Films can educate. Film can also be a powerful medium for advancing social causes. If used right, film can change the world.

The power of film was unleashed last week at the Rome Film Festival, this time helping children with a rare disease. The documentary, The Dark Side of the Sun, raises awareness of the rare disease Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP).

XP is a rare genetic condition. Persons with XP cannot be exposed to sunlight or they will quickly develop skin damage leading to cancer. XP sufferers cannot go outside during the daylight hours and must even avoid certain types of lights. A charity to support patients with XP was started by Caren and Dan Mahar in 1995.

Since 2005 I have done a number of articles on this outstanding organization. The XP Society runs Camp Sundown, where children with the disease can have a typical camp experience, taking place at night.

 

Camp Sundown in New York (photo courtesy of the XP Society)
 

 

It is Camp Sundown that was the focus of The Dark Side of the Sun. A press release states, “Three years of professional filming, creativity and editing went into capturing the delight of children with a rare disease known as Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) at the special light-protected world of Camp Sundown.”

Camp Sundown depends on donations to keep running. Tough times with the economy have made this an even bigger challenge. When Hurricane Irene struck a couple of months ago, Camp Sundown sustained damage. Donations are needed for patient support and for research into a cure, which could potentially lead to advances in finding a cure for all cancers.

The Dark Side of the Sun is produced by an Italian film company, Citrullo International. You can view the trailer here. Following this premiere, it is expected that the film will be distributed in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.