Film producer tells of personal journey that brought family pain and triumph to the screen

Film producer Jonathan Cavendish brought to a special London Press Club event a personal insight on how he told in film his family’s battle through despair to triumph.

“Breathe” – which starred Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy – tells the story of Jonathan’s father Robin Cavendish who, after being paralysed by polio while working in Kenya, fought a determined battle for victims to live outside a hospital bed connected to an iron lung.

Jonathan told Press Club members his father had an indomitable spirit for life despite always “being two-and-a-half minutes from death”.

Jonathan shared the story of the making of the film at a special Q&A held at Regent Hyatt Hotel The Churchill in association with Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland to mark World Polio Day.

Also taking part in the Q&A with BBC presenter Samantha Symmonds was Paralympian and British wheelchair racer and polio survivor Anne Wafula Strike. She contracted polio in Kenya at the age of two.

Both Jonathan and Anne are Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassadors – the Rotary International campaign that has reduced the number of polio cases globally from thousands in 125 countries to just 25 cases so far this year in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Richard Dymond

Honorary Treasurer and Director of the London Press Club and the London Press Club Ball.

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