I was fortunate to attend the final day of the Toronto Hot Docs 2016 Film Festival on Sunday. I got up early, and headed to a local cinema in order to be first in line for rush tickets. Why would I do that on a Sunday? Because the film they were screening was ‘Spirit Unforgettable’.
If you enjoy documentary films, or you are a fan of the band Spirit of the West, or if you truly believe that more needs to be done to get the message about dementia out so that we can battle the stigma that so many associate with the diagnosis, then this was an event not to be missed. It is a brief look at the life of John Mann, lead singer for the band Spirit of the West. John was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in September 2014.
The film tracks some of the events that occurred around the time of the diagnosis, flashing back to key milestones in the band’s history and leading up to what was probably their farewell concert at Massey Hall last year. It is an amazing look at how John’s courage is getting him through each day, with the tremendous support of his wife Jill, his kids and his family of band members.
John has become a friend of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and is supporting their work and continuing to use music as a way to communicate. The film is certain to make you laugh and to make you cry, but it will also make you proud for John and his truly remarkable spirit. There are still opportunities to see John perform as part of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Music Project. Here is a link if you might be interested: