Join us on World Parkinson’s Day as we screen “Awakenings” starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Based on the true story of Dr. Oliver Sacks as he endeavors to stir people from their catatonic state with levodopa. Movie, popcorn and beverages are free, however registration is required.
In 1969, Dr. Malcolm Sayer is a dedicated and caring physician at a local hospital in the Bronx borough of New York City. After working extensively with the catatonic patients who survived the 1917–1928 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica, Sayer discovers certain stimuli will reach beyond the patients’ respective catatonic states; actions such as catching a ball, hearing familiar music, being called by their name, and enjoying human touch, all have unique effects on particular patients and offer a glimpse into their worlds. Patient Leonard Lowe seems to remain unmoved, but Sayer learns that Leonard is able to communicate with him by using a Ouija board.
After attending a lecture at a conference on the drug L-DOPA and its success for patients with Parkinson’s disease, Sayer believes the drug may offer a breakthrough for his own group of patients. A trial run with Leonard yields astounding results: Leonard completely “awakens” from his catatonic state. This success inspires Sayer to ask for funding from donors so that all the catatonic patients can receive the L-DOPA medication and gain “awakenings” to reality and the present.