You're Beautiful to Me (Film)
This campaign began as "A Joy to Remember Tour" but just months after creating it, our Mother, Ms. Freda Ellis, who was suffering from fronto-temporal dementia forgot how to walk one day. We took her to the hospital on August 30, 2013 and she never came home. A lot happened in between that time. She died in hospice care on August 30, 2015.
Our last trip was in early August 2013, so it was a complete shock and horrifying to have her forget how to walk just 20 days later. This campaign is now focused on the feature documentary film and transmedia project, "You're Beautiful to Me," a story of a mother and daughter's journey with dementia. Below, you can read the original campaign request. But if you know the story and just want to spread the word or donate to the film , it would be greatly appreciated! Please also read the latest update! We have a dedicated site and we're also on Facebook ( http://YoureBeautifulToMe.com) and our hashtag is #YBTM, everywhere on social media.
A Joy To Remember Tour
Freda Carolyn Ellis
Gracious. Beautiful. Generous. Kind. Thoughtful. Humble.
It has been a long time since I have updated the site. Most people know by now that our beloved Mother passed away on August 30, 2015. We appreciate all your well wishes and prayers.
As her daughter, my response to coping with her death, beyond the standard ways to grieve, has been to take on solo international travel, as my Mother is the one who taught me how to travel. Thus far, I have been to South Africa, London, Paris, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Cuba, with upcoming trips to New Zealand and Thailand. To celebrate my Mother's legacy, parts of these trips will go into the documentary I am working on to honor her life and help teach the world about dementia, caregiving and health care systems. Creating this GoFundMe for my Mother and I to travel was its initial purpose. Then, after she passed, some people donated to help with funeral costs and honor her memory.
I just finished my first public presentation on her story at Netroots Nation on July 16, 2016, on a "Family Paid Leave" panel organized by PL.US. (thank you, Katie Bethell and Mia Byrdsong!). The response was tremendous and I am always so surprised how much our story affects so many people. I told them I was working on a documentary film, so it is time that I encourage everyone to donate to "You're Beautiful to Me," a story of a mother and daughter's journey with dementia. I received a small grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation (Thank You, Advancing Black Arts!) but quickly learned I needed more. Donations made after this update will go to the film; and I will honor those made beforehand as well! Any help is appreciated. I can't wait for you to see how tragically beautiful our Mother's journey was and what everyone can gain from seeing this feature documentary film. I plan to take it around to film festivals and hold private screenings during the first round and I had no idea how expensive it would be. This is my first documentary film. Thank you for helping!!!
A note on rewards:
Any donations of $25 means an automatic entry into a public film screening. $75 or more will include a digital download of the film. And any donation of $150 or more will include a private event (no transportation, etc.). $500 grants you a private conversation with yours truly and $1500 or more makes you a co-producer. Give $5,000 or more and I will give you the kitchen sink!
Sincerely and with love,
I am updating all social media sites to let everyone know that our beloved Mother passed away Sunday morning, August 30, 2015 in Forbes Hospice at West Penn Hospital. Visitation is Friday, Sept. 4, 4-8pm at St. Benedict the Moor Church (91 Crawford St) and the funeral is on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 11:00am, with another brief viewing from 9-10:30am. Her obituary was posted on the front page of the Obituary section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The funeral will be a celebration of her life, so please wear BRIGHT COLORS on Saturday. http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2015/09/01/Obituary-Freda-Ellis-August-Wilson-s-sister-served-in-many-roles/stories/201508310161
There are two ways you can support:
Contribute here to support the film about her journey with dementia, entitled, "You're Beautiful to Me" (and all rewards will be honored, just replace "show" with "screening" or "viewing." See the attached photo and visit the website: http://yourebeautifultome.com
And/or contribute to the Daisy Wilson Artist Community's by helping to renovate the August Wilson (and Freda Ellis) Childhood Home, under the leadership of her son, Attorney Paul A. Ellis, Jr.: http://GoFundMe.Com/AugustWilsonHome
We thank you all for your support and prayers over the years. This has been a tough journey but it was also filled with joyful moments. We are reminded that Freda Ellis lived a full life of nearly 70 years without frontotemporal dementia. She traveled the world, lived her dreams and engaged the world on her own terms and treated everyone around her with dignity and respect. For that, we say, "Well Done, Freda Ellis! Well Done!"
Remember this video from last year? Well, we're a far way away from that. My Mom doesn't walk much anymore and she's in a wheelchair. She doesn't talk much either but she does mouth a lot of words and she's very alert. My goals have changed as the travel we wanted to do will not happen; but the new goal is just to get a disability van and enjoy the Summer by taking lots of local trips while the weather is good. It's the little things, right? With your help, it can happen. I didn't realize these vehicles were so expensive and a one month rental is $2500. Yikes.
In the meantime, we'll keep pushing and we thank you so much for your support, it's been awesome and your donations have helped us all year long!
It's been a little while since I have posted because I went to pick my Mom up one day and she had trouble walking. I ended up having to take her to the hospital and then she went into a rehab center and nursing home. It was a shock but she had two hairline fractures and had to wear a cast for six weeks. I was basically living with her and am happy to say the cast is off but we are still in rehab trying to get her to walk better.
Nevertheless, we get out and about and your contributions are so helpful! We are thankful to you, especially since getting around is a bit harder than before! Enjoy the pictures and I will update you again soon!
Happy Holidays! --- Kimberly
Kimberly, my name is mary stevens I have been a friend of your mother since we were about 14 years old . I live in Colorado. If you remember your mom drove back with me from pgh to colorado and we so enjoyed the trip. I need to know where your mother is . I am coming to pgh on October 2 nd & will be staying for a week and a half and would love to see your mom and spend sometime with her. I hope this works out for us. also when I do come to pgh her classmates and I always get together for lunch or dinner and if possible would love for you to bring you mom for our get together. Please call me at 970-405-9186
Ms. Ellis has been a blessing to me sinced I've moved here in 2005, and even more since my own Mother transitioned in 2006. Kim & Paul, thank you so much for sharing her!
Ms. Ellis was always a second mom to me and took on the love for my children as well. I will always be thankful to her for that. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to grow up in the presence of a dynamic person who loved everyone with everything that was in her heart. I love you Ms. Ellis!!!!