Documentary 'I'll Push You' foreshadows longtime publicist's diagnosis

Thursday, November 02, 2017 03:57PM
The documentary film "I'll Push You" tells the story of Justin and Patrick; two lifelong friends who decide to embark on a 500-mile trek from France to Spain.


LOS ANGELES - The documentary film "I'll Push You" tells the story of Justin and Patrick; two lifelong friends who decide to embark on a 500-mile trek from France to Spain.

The biggest obstacle? Justin is living with a debilitating motor neuron disease, similar to ALS. Max Danielson is a publicist who has worked on over 350 movie campaigns throughout his career. And when he heard about this film, he knew he wanted to help.

"They had a lot of obstacles. The wheelchair broke down at one part," said Danielson. "They had to go through muddy waterbeds. They had to transverse the Pyrenees. It was grueling. It's a grueling trek for even an able-bodied person.

Danielson was working on this movie when it premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival last April. Then something life changing happened on the way to the film's after-party.

"I'm holding on to Justin's wheelchair as we're walking. And Justin stops his wheelchair and he looks down and he said, 'Max, do you have drop foot?' and I said, "Yes, something's going on," remembered Danielson. "I'm not quite sure what. I'm getting it checked out. I pulled a disc. I don't know what it is.' And then six weeks later, I was diagnosed with ALS."

Danielson's 29-year career as a publicist will end with this movie; a film about friendship, loyalty, and love.

"They are an example of how you live life to its fullest, regardless of the obstacles," said Danielson. "And each day is a new day. I might not be able to walk in three months so I'm enjoying-- even with my walker or with a cane, I'm loving the fact that I can be a little bit mobile now."

As Danielson finishes up promoting this movie, he says he has learned something from it: the support of family and friends is a powerful thing.

"It's a reluctant journey but it doesn't have to be an awful one," he said.

"I'll Push You" will be playing in two dozen theatres around Southern California for one night only: Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7:30pm. It should be out on DVD before the end of the year.
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