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"Your next adventure is this": The incredible Mark Pollock story to hit big screen

The Irishman’s rollercoaster life – and Unbreakable spirit – the subject of feature documentary.

WATCH THIS AND be inspired.

Source: True Films/Vimeo

This is the newly-released trailer for upcoming documentary Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story, made by True Films.

Mark Pollock is a larger-than-life figure whose story might be in part familiar to TheJournal.ie audiences.

He lost his sight at the age of 22, in his final year at Trinity College Dublin, but went on to win Commonwealth medals at rowing, become the first blind Irishman to race to the South Pole and excel as an adventure athlete and motivational speaker.

Then, in July 2010, just four weeks before he was due to marry his fiancée Simone, Pollock had a freak fall and became paralysed from the waist down. He almost died in the fall itself and battled for months against potentially-lethal infections.

Quite incredibly, Pollock fought back and is now helping lead the charge to investigate, fundraise for and promote technological and medical advances in the area of paralysis and spinal cord injury.

This rollercoaster story is chronicled in Unbreakable over the course of six years by film-maker Ross Whitaker (When Ali Came to Ireland, Saviours).

Pollock says of his own journey:

I feel like an explorer operating on the frontiers of what’s possible.

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Source: Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Story via Vimeo

Director Whitaker says that the film is really a testament to the power of human relationships and the human spirit to challenge seemingly unsurmountable obstacles.

The relationship of Mark and his fiancée Simone is central to the journey – as is the support given to the couple and Mark’s work by thousands worldwide who have donated, sent messages of hope (and those thousands who participate in the Run in the Dark every year.)

Says Whitaker:

To be given such incredible access to a compelling story is a huge privilege and opportunity as a filmmaker. At times it was heartbreaking to be so close to Mark and Simone as they struggled in the wake of Mark’s fall.In the end though, watching them became an uplifting experience as these amazing people built a new life that will no doubt help many people with spinal cord injuries in the future.

Mark and Simone are now both board members of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, on a mission to fast-track a cure for spinal cord injury.

Where to see Unbreakable:

  • Unbreakable opens at the Lighthouse cinema, in Smithfield, Dublin on Friday, 3 October for a limited run.
  • The film then launches on a national tour, in association with accessCINEMA, taking in locations including Cork, Waterford, Belfast, Killarney, Bray, Naas, Thurles, Birr, Drogheda, Galway, Portlaoise, Kilkenny and Athlone, with further venues to be confirmed. 
  • Most of these screenings will feature a Q&A with Mark Pollock.
  • There will also be schools’ screening in association with Science Foundation Ireland to raise awareness of how science can have a positive impact on people’s lives, as reflected in Mark’s rehabilitation.
  • Screening dates, details and booking are here.
  • Information about the Mark Pollock Trust is here.

Science Changes Lives: the series>

Blind, paralysed… and bald: But Mark Pollock’s TEDx talk is about possibilities, not problems>

How does it feel to carry the Olympic torch? Let Mark Pollock tell you>

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