Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I Am Not My Body (Marius Movie and Nie Nie Dialogues)

On April 5, 2011 @ 7:00 PM, my kids, John, and some extended family members saw the movie premiere of I Am Not My Body by Mark Williams at BYU. It was an incredible documentary about a young Romanian boy name Marius Dasianu.  

During the winter of 2007, nine year old Marius and his parents were involved in a terrible house fire.  Sadly, his parents died in the fire, but Marius was able to escape by jumping out a window. He had 3rd and 4th degree burns on 75% of his body.   The fire burned his nose and eye lids off his face.  His fingers on both hands had infections, which lead to amputation of all ten fingers. 

While my niece Jessica Free was in Romania doing an internship via BYU, she met Marius at the hospital.  It was very easy to love him because of his spunky personality!  Jessica looked forward to cheering him up everyday while volunteering at the hospital but that did not seem enough for him.  Jessica and her friend Ashley called their parents wondering what else they could do to help him because the Romanian hospital was limited on treating severe burns and he was an orphan. 
Jessica and Ashley with Marius, 2008.

The two interns and their families worked together to make a website called  Team Marius (to receive donations) that helped them accomplish their goals of receiving medical help and a way for him to come to America.  To their surprise, Shriner's Hospital in Los Angeles California accepted Marius' case to provide free medical treatment for his burns!  In addition, Marius' older brother Ionut became his legal guardian, which made the process easier to get Marius into the United States! During their first year living in the United States, Marius and Ionut needed a translator (Teodora Racoveanu) since they couldn't speak English at all.   Teo was a great help to the doctors and my family members who took care of Marius.  She grew to love him very much!  
Ionut, Teo, Ashley, Marius, and Jessica, 2011

Marius lived with my brother in-law Dave Free's family for a year.  During that time, Marius had a couple major surgeries.
  • His two big toes were surgically removed and attached to his hands and now function as thumbs! 
  • The next surgery fixed his eye lids so that he can blink and close his eyes!  
  • Then he finally got a nose from using skin on his scalp!
He has several surgeries to follow in many years to come...  The Frees have grown to love Marius and have accepted him as part of their family. To our surprise, Ionut and Ashley fell in love and got married a year after Marius came to America. Around that same time, Ionut and Marius joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  Since Ashley's family is now related to Marius via marriage, they believed it would be best if Ashley's parents became Marius' foster parents.  Dave and Kristin were sad to see Marius leave their care but at the same time they knew it was the right thing to do for him.  He continues to keep in touch with the Free family by visiting, calling, via Facebook, etc.  Marius still calls Kristin and Dave his Mom and Dad as well as his new foster parents.  What a lucky young man to have so many parents who love him!
Marius, 2011

Ashley, Marius, and Jessica, 2011

Our lives have been touched by knowing Marius! He has a wonderful sense of humor, beautiful smile, and never complains about his physical disfigurements!   He has been through a lot already and has never thought about giving up!  He makes the best of his life by not allowing his physical challenges get in the way of accomplishing great things!   He ran for vice president at his school and won!  He plays the tuba, enjoys karate, loves playing video games with his pads and "toe" thumbs!  He would like to be a motivational speaker when he is older.  He has a destiny to do AMAZING things in life and can inspire others to overcome grief!  We all can learn a lot of lessons from Marius!

Little Sister with Marius before the movie premiere, 2011!

My oldest daughter was happy to support Marius on her birthday!  

Here are some wonderful clips about Marius's story! KSL News,  ABC4 News, and  I Am Not My Body.

There were a few special guests at the movie premiere!  Stephanie and Christian Nielson were there to support Marius too.  They are burn victims who survived an awful air plane crash in 2008. Their bodies were left with scars and severe burns. Stephanie had 3rd degree burns on 80% of her body. I found out about Stephanie by clicking on her "I read Nie Nie" button a while ago from some body else's blog.  I've enjoyed reading her Nie Nie Dialogues.  She is a witty talented writer and mother of four adorable children.  She was in a recent Mormon Message video My New Life, Today Show did a story on her within days after her accident,   She was on Oprah, and you can view a great You Tube about them.  Stephanie is such an inspirational speaker, creative, kind, patient, brave, and beautiful woman outside and inside!  I absolutely love her taste in vintage clothing and interior decorating. My sister in-law Kristin Free introduced me to Stephanie!  I was thrilled to talk to Stephanie for a few minutes and got a photo taken of them with me!    

What a WONDERFUL night!  We are so blessed to know Marius, Stephanie, and Christian!  I am certain they will all achieve their goals and dreams in life because of their great examples to us on how to live life to the fullest no matter what challenges get in our paths!


Trishelle said...

JENN!! WOW! What an amazing evening! I'm so glad you were able to be involved in supporting this cause. What an incredible and strong spirit Marius has! And everyone justifiably loves Stephanie...which brings me to you and your own off the charts awesomeness! A wise man once said that you can know a lot about a person from what they do with their spare time. You are an angel, my friend!

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