Film Festival 2006 Kay Lord & her Hero Nathaniel Dunigan
PRODUCED BY SKIP BLUMBERG
“For me a hero is someone who does what you think is impossible to do, and therefore gives you
the strength to do it.”
-Nathaniel Dunigan, Aidchild (Uganda) Founder
To pay tribute to her hero Nathaniel Dunigan and to raise awareness about his organization Aidchild Kay sent her inspiring story to My Hero. Video artist and producer Skip Blumberg set her story to film. Skip used an unusual technique by filming the online interview between Kay in the United States with her hero Nathaniel in Africa. Skip shows Kay in her role as Coast Guard cadet, and reveals the tremendous role that her experience in Uganda and her contact with Nathaniel Dunigan had on shaping her life decisions.
Kay Lord is a second class cadet at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Both her parents were diplomats with USAID, and Kay grew up overseas, mostly in Africa. The necessity of service has been engrained in her through her travel experiences and seeing people less fortunate than herself. Her experience with the Coast Guard began when she was a child, and as she grew older she knew she wanted to be in the military. More than anything however, she wanted to “help people more than hurt them.” This made the Coast Guard the most attractive option for fulfilling her goals. However, it was not until she volunteered with orphans with AIDS in Uganda with Nathaniel Dunigan, founder of Aidchild, that she was truly inspired to commit herself to a life of helping others.
For spring break my parents thought it would be a good idea to have my brother and I go out to a hospice for orphans with AIDS in Uganda, where Nathaniel Dunigan works, and where he started the program Aidchild.
They take in children who really have no other place to go. Most of them are pretty near death when they come to him, and he turns them back into happy, healthy, amazing children.
Nathaniel: Most of us are aware that there is a great need with regards to HIV and AIDS and orphans in Africa. What we’re not always aware of is the success, what can be done, what is being done, what needs to be done more. There’s great hope these days. We provide very comprehensive care, we provide education, academic intervention, medical intervention, anti-retral viral therapy, we have a microbiology laboratory, and we provide psycho-social support, in very aggressive ways. That means extending great love, TLC, to these children, and it makes all the difference. The Aidchild story is not a sad story about orphans living with AIDS in Africa. It’s a beautiful story about children living a very precious, positive and happy life in Africa.
What to do? Find an agency, or an organization that you can support, one that you can volunteer with, or maybe you are going to start your own effort. There’s so much to be done, just do it.
Kay: Nathaniel is my hero because when it came down to it and I needed to decide what I wanted to do with my life, by looking at his example, and his efforts, I realized what I could do, and what I was capable of. After seeing how much the kids'lives were improved by Nathaniel, I was sold, and I’ve wanted to help people ever since.
Nathaniel really taught me that it’s a good thing to give up part of yourself in order to help other people, and you come out better for it.
We’re always working, we’re always on duty. People are always needing to be saved on the seas, so we’re always there to help them.