Hi everyone. First of all, I would like to thank you all so much for coming to this page. The mere fact that you clicked on the link and are here and reading this means so much to me and my Aunt Judy, whom I created this site for.
Before getting into the root purpose of this page, I'd like to talk a little bit about my aunt. Judy has always been passionate about things in life, chief among them, film and family. Early in her life, she managed to make a name for herself in both of these fields, as a distinguished film editor, and as a loving and amazing aunt to her four nieces and one (and thereby favorite) nephew.
Unfortunately, Judy was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's disease shortly after her fortieth birthday. Growing up, it was hard to watch as I got bigger and stronger, and she seemed to do just the opposite, growing weaker and slower every day. There was a brief spell of hope when I was around nine or ten, when she was lucky enough to become a candidate for a new trial procedure. If effective, the procedure (which involved cutting open her head and implanting a chip in her brain) was supposed to dramatically improve her condition, and by the grace of God, it did. For about a year or two after the operation, it was like night and day; Judy could walk again, she could carry things, she could go up and down stairs - she was even able to drive again for a little bit. She was literally a brand new person. Unfortunately though, it didn't last long.
Ultimately though, the disease began to take its toll on Judy's career in film, and there was nothing she could do about that. However, before being stricken with the illness, she had accomplished a great deal of things in her field of work. There are too many individual accomplishments to list here, so rather than waste a few pages detailing all of her extensive credentials, I'll focus on the one area of her field that she was most passionate about: documentaries. She produced and edited several of them in her time, including: Whispering Hope: Unmasking the Mystery of Alzheimer's (which received the DuPont Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism); A Separate Hell, an hour-long television documentary on children of alcoholics; Ode to Joy, a half-hour documentary that focused on the first oral school for the deaf; and If I Don't Live to be Tomorrow, a half-hour special on AIDS.
But that was all before Parkinson's. Now, her body is in shambles. She spends 90% of her time in a wheelchair, either a motorized one while in her apartment, or being pushed around manually in one when going somewhere. She can still walk sometimes, but it is always with a cane or a walker, and it depends on the day - it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to ten minutes for her to get from the living room of her apartment to the bathroom, as she sometimes, as she puts it, 'gets stuck.' Getting out of bed on her own is a thing of the past, and more often than not, she can barely even speak. Even something as simple as typing a short (readable) email is a long and arduous task for her. But still, none of this has taken away from her drive and desire to do work, even though she does it at a much, much slower pace.
For almost seven years now, Judy has been working on her latest, and likely last, passion project: a documentary on Rebecca Salsbury. Rebecca Salsbury was a close friend, companion, and fellow artist of famed painter Georgia O'Keeffe. She was also the daughter of Nate Salsbury, who was the owner and producer of the legendary Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, and, as Judy found out after digging through some old family albums, she was a distant relative of our family. BECK: The Documentary explores the life and paintings of Rebecca Salsbury, and focuses in particular on the time that she spent with Georgia O'Keeffe in Taos, New Mexico, during the summer of 1929. It delves deep into the special bond that developed between the two painters, and the amazing works of art that were created while the two were residing in the desert together.
BECK: The Documentary is finally within reach. Everything that can be done has been done. Judy's near seven-year dream is so close, that even I can taste it. The only thing left that it needs is your help. That push, that boost, that extra influx of money and donations to transform it from an unfinished project into a completed masterpiece. And this is the reason that I created this page; to help Judy complete her last passion project, by spreading the word and trying to get others to help. The project is seeking donations, and any and all, large or small, will go a long way. More information on Rebecca Salsbury and the project can be found on its site, along with a video containing various footage, stills, and interviews from the documentary. Donations can be made on the site, and there are different perks and incentives for various donation amounts. This is an opportunity to not only help Judy's dream become a reality, but to support a great project in and of itself. The story of Rebecca Salsbury and her time spent with Georgia O'Keeffe is truly an amazing one, and deserves to be told to the world. And therein lies Judy's true passion: she has not been chasing the dream for the sake of making a documentary - she has been chasing it so that she can tell the world a story. And it's up to us to help.
Before she had Parkinson's, Judy would have finished this project, along with multiple others, in the time that she has spent working on it so far. However, due to her frequent medical bills, doctor's visits (two to four a week), and overall inability to do simple, everyday tasks, it has become a long and drawn out process, and at times, has felt more like an out-of-reach dream to her than an actual realistic goal. I know this, because I have been around for all of the ups and downs, all the moments of doubt, all the times when she thought about giving up and resigning herself to the thought that her days in film were over and done. But, despite being able to do so literally, she has always picked herself up and powered through things. And, because of her prevailing persistence and unwillingness to give up, along with an incredible support team made up of friends, volunteers, and old colleagues, her years of hard work are close to paying off.
So please - come on this journey. Help make Judy's dream a reality, and tell the world about the amazing person that was Rebecca Salsbury. Check out the project's Facebook page, and watch the video or read about it more on the official site. Donate a dollar, or maybe two. Receive some amazing Beck and New Mexico-inspired memorabilia, like an authentic Taos bracelet or necklace, or an original Beck poster or tote bag, or even a painting of Salsbury and O'Keeffe together. The list goes on and on, and so do the number of reasons for contributing to such a cause.
My Aunt Judy has always been there for me in life, no matter what the case was, and no matter what condition or state she was in. And I hope that I can be there for her now. And - while I know this sounds corny - hopefully, I can be there to make her happy and smile like I did when I was just a golden-haired little toddler. So please - come help.
Eventually, the initial effects of the procedure began to wear off, and as the disease continued to progress in her, her physical condition started to deteriorate once again. We watched slowly and painfully as all of her newfound abilities were gradually taken away from her, one by one, and our elevated hopes during her time of improvement only made it that much harder when we realized that there was no getting better from this - she would only get worse. Eventually, she regressed to where she had been before the operation, and continued on a downward spiral from there. No matter how bad she got though, she never once let it affect her compassion, commitment, or demeanor towards her family, in particular the loving devotion she had for her nieces and nephew, all of whom she treated as if they were her own children.