‘For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign’ Documentary Showcases People’s Tenacity for Living

Survival: A basic instinct that is innate in all animals on Earth. The desire to keep living and pushing ourselves to impossible limits is one of our core motivations, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable forces. It’s this unwavering resilience that makes these stories so inspiring because as humans, we are capable of overcoming the most challenging circumstances, or at least doing everything in our power to go down swinging if there isn’t a solution. It’s this inspiring, unwavering effort to save a life, both ours and others, that resides in Brian Wallach and his wife Sandra Abrevaya, in the new Prime Video documentary, For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign.

For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign follows Wallach and Abrevaya from when he first was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, to fighting for expanded rights and legislation for individuals with this diagnosis on Capitol Hill. It’s a journey that has its highs and lows, with victories and sorrow for both husband and wife. Executively produced by Jeff Macgregor, Katie Couric, and Phil Rosenthal, and directed by Christopher Burke, this documentary is hoping to reinvigorate the fight for ALS, as the ice bucket challenge did a few years back. 

Thanks to the relentless efforts of Brian Wallach, Sandra Abrevaya, and the global ALS community, significant progress has been made in the fight against this debilitating diagnosis. However, For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign serves as a stark reminder of the long road ahead, inspiring audiences to continue supporting ALS research and legislation.

A diagnosis no one ever expects in For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign

Life has a way of throwing unexpected curveballs, as Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya know all too well. Their love story, which began during one of Barack Obama’s election campaigns, is a testament to their shared passion for something greater than themselves. Their journey, chronicled in For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign, is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit, which becomes tested on the day they brought their second child home from the hospital.

For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign
Still from For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign. Image courtesy of Prime Video.

It was on that day that Wallach received his ALS diagnosis from his doctor, after getting checked for a persistent cough and muscle tremors in his left hand. No one expects a diagnosis like that, especially when the doctor tells him that he only has six months to live. That news could be crippling, but Wallach was never one to take things lying down. 

Instead, he forges a path into his new reality, which is grim and unknown for so many who receive this same diagnosis. At the time that he learns he has ALS, there isn’t enough research or knowledge about the disorder, with little funding or awareness. Receiving an ALS diagnosis is a death sentence, as your body slowly starts to shut down and lose function. With his impending time limit left to live life, Wallach decides that he needs to do something for the entire ALS population, so he takes his story to Congress, hoping to change the world.

Two narratives push this Prime Video documentary forward 

For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign, two distinct stories carry through the documentary. Of course, there’s the personal journey of Wallach and Abrevaya, as the couple navigates the challenges and emotions that come with such a life-changing medical issue. Neither can predict what’s going to happen next, especially as Wallach continues to defy the odds and live longer than the doctor first predicted.

The other side of the documentary coin is the efforts that this couple pushes globally, to bring about change for those who have and will be diagnosed with ALS. Beginning with his non-profit I Am ALS, Wallach hoped to both raise funds and awareness for the progressive neurodegenerative disease. A worthy goal, if not neverending in such a fight like this, but quickly his efforts become so much more than he or anyone else involved can even imagine. Throughout his journey with ALS, Brian Wallach continued to push, speaking in front of Congress and lobbying for new laws and governmental funding, so that one day we could see a cure for the disease.

He and his wife do this, knowing there’s a significant chance that they might not ever see a cure, but their goals were never just for them, which both are aware of. The documentary also interviews other individuals involved in the process, many of which are also diagnosed with ALS or have lost someone to the disease. All of their narratives are stitched together into a larger tapestry, showing that the human experience isn’t isolated even when it feels like it is. We’re all in this together, and fighting for a cure for ALS is fighting for a cure for so many other medical issues.

For Love & Life is an emotional but hopeful documentary

Going into our screener for this Prime Video documentary, I knew it would be difficult to watch at times. Any film that focuses on the negative side of the human experience is a difficult pill to swallow, especially when it’s about a disease that many get diagnosed with and for which there was previously little hope for a cure. 1 in 300 people will be diagnosed with ALS and can happen to just about anyone, as the majority of the cases have no prior family history. That ratio is small, too small for comfort, which is one of the ideas behind this documentary. We shouldn’t be comfortable when so many people are dying and not enough is being done to help.

For Love & Life- No Ordinary Campaign Brian and Sandra
Sandra Abrevaya and Brian Wallach. For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign. Image courtesy of Prime Video.

Sadly, it’s typical that when a problem doesn’t personally impact our lives, we tend to ignore it. “It isn’t impacting us, why should we care?” For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign presents the exact reason we should care, because love should be the driving factor for all. While I don’t know someone in my life who has been diagnosed with ALS, at any time that could change. With life expectancies of 6 months to about 5 years, the amount of life we have with that person is drastically changed. We have to mourn the lack of opportunities with them we’ll have, as well as the deterioration of their body that will happen swiftly during that time period. We should care because while this isn’t my father or brother, it’s someone’s family member and they deserve a cure as much as any other disease out there.

Plus, finding a cure for ALS opens the door to so many others, as research continues to grow. This is the hopeful part of this documentary and the message that the film leaves audiences with. Yes, things look grim where they are right now. There isn’t a cure as of yet, but progress is being made to increase life expectancy and the quality of living these individuals have. That is something worth celebrating.

Final thoughts on Prime Video’s For Love & Life

I know that not everyone loves documentaries as much as I do, and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to watch them on a regular basis, however, there are a few that are important for all to watch at some point, and For Love & Life: No Ordinary Campaign is one of them. The story of Brian Wallach is important, people should know it. Let’s put a face to one of the driving forces behind ALS changes and the push for a cure.

Putting a face to it makes it real, learning a name and seeing a person attached to the disease means that we can’t ignore it, and we shouldn’t. Instead, you should let this film wash over you, allow you to feel all the emotions, and then turn around and demand change. We should want change for those diagnosed with ALS and there’s always something we can do to help create it.

For Love & Life is now streaming on Prime Video.

Learn more about the documentary at the official Prime site for the title.

If you wish to know more about Brian Wallach’s I AM ALS, please click the the link to learn more.

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