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'Shaking Hands With The Devil' - LSVT are finalists at the Smiley Charity Film Awards

Words by Abi Scaife

The Corporate Cause section in the Smiley Charity Film Awards is a chance for businesses to demonstrate how they’re giving back. It’s a hugely important and impactful category, allowing us to celebrate their partnerships with charities and causes that benefit our world.

Ahead of the Smiley Charity Film Awards, we caught up with Dr. Cynthia Fox, the CEO and Co-Founder of LSVT Global, who provides training for Parkinson’s disease to speech, physical, and occupational therapists worldwide. 

They worked with wildlife filmmaker David Plummer and Olz McCoy, freelance filmmaker, to create the film Shaking Hands With The Devil, to help raise awareness of Parkinson’s, and how hard it is to get treatment in Africa - particularly Kenya.

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Why did you choose to get involved with this cause?

After hearing David Plummer’s personal story of extreme stigmatisation due to his Parkinson’s and the desire to create a film to expose the suffering this type of stigma causes, we were on board immediately. The project and film’s message perfectly align with our mission to inspire hope and transform the lives of adults and children living with communication and movement disorders around the world, who are frequently the victims of stigma and marginalisation by an uninformed society. 

David was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, and since then has been a vocal advocate for finding treatments and, ultimately, a cure. In this incredibly personal film, David heads to Kenya, to explore what life is like for others with the disease.

Why is it so important for businesses to get involved in charity work and giving back?

It is our duty as business entities to contribute to the communities and world we live in and see beyond the defined functions of our business products, services, and profit. Sharing the burdens of our communities and uplifting those in need through charity work creates a sense of purpose and pride within a business organization that hopefully trickles beyond the walls of the entity through its people and purpose.

LSVT helps to train people in the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease. The treatment was spearheaded by CSO and co-founder Dr. Lorraine Ramig, and today LSVT teaches practitioners all across the world how they can use her treatment to help those in need.

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How can businesses best support the causes they are involved with?

In any way they can! So often we limit our view of supporting causes to writing a check (which is important when we can), but there are limitless ways to offer support. Businesses can provide volunteer manpower, support grants, offer mentoring, empower charities through marketing and social media channels, learn about causes in local communities, get employees and their families involved, offer a smile of support, and show up when they can!

LSVT’s video for the Smiley Charity Film Awards can be seen here. You can find out more about LSVT on their website.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Sense. Sense helps thousands of people who have complex disabilities to communicate, experience the world and fulfil their potential. Learn more here.

Scope. Scope is the disability equality charity in England and Wales, providing practical information and emotional support when it's most needed, campaigning to create a fairer society. Support them here.

Disability Rights UK. Disability Rights UK is the UK’s leading organisation led by, run by, and working for disabled people. Find out more.

This article aligns with the UN SDGs Good Health and Wellbeing and Partnerships for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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