Unstoppable Silva seeks funding for film on SMA

Unstoppable Silva seeks funding for film on SMA

Cumberland resident Alyssa Silva hopes to raise enough money to create a documentary about her journey with spinal muscular atrophy. (Valley Breeze photo by Jessica Boisclair)

CUMBERLAND - Cumberland resident Alyssa Silva continues to inspire people with her positive attitude and love for life, and to reach a bigger audience she decided to film a documentary about her life.

Silva was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that causes her spinal nerve cells to deteriorate.

Silva has worked diligently to elevate awareness of her disorder. Starting at age 10, she created greeting cards and calendars to raise money toward spinal muscular atrophy research. To date, she has raised $95,000 and hopes to reach $100,000 by the end of this year.

At 23, she now blogs about her journey, letting people know what living with SMA is like. "I've never been much of a writer, so I started the blog and wanted to see where it went, and now I talk to people all over the world," she said. "I wanted to show people that no matter what you're going through, you always try your best and live the best life possible."

Her next project, which will be her biggest, will showcase her life through a documentary titled "Dare to be Remarkable: Living with SMA."

"We want to create an avenue where people can watch me and my life and understand that they are not alone," she said. "We want to provide inspiration and hope to a community where hope was once lost."

Many people born with SMA are not expected to live past the age of 2, but Silva beat the odds and she said she wants people to know that miracles do happen.

"Twenty years ago there was no hope for a disease like mine, and we want to showcase that and display it, because whatever difficulty in life you may be facing, you can always do the impossible," she said.

While the movie will be based around Silva's life, she said other people would be interviewed, including doctors, medical staff and families affected by SMA.

Animus Studios based in East Providence will film the hour-long documentary. The production company previously shot a short video of Silva in 2013 and already collected footage of her in the classroom, her graduation from Bryant University and various interviews with family, friends and classmates.

Silva said the only roadblock in her latest endeavor is money. The documentary will cost approximately $15,000 to make, so Silva created a campaign on kickstarter.com to help raise money.

"It's an all-or-nothing type deal, I either raise the $15,000 or get nothing at all," she said. "That's how much I need to cover the expenses."

If Silva is able to raise the money, she said the film crew would begin the project immediately and it would take a year to produce.

"We hope to eventually distribute the DVDs to SMA organizations so they can give it out to families with newly diagnosed children or somebody who's lost hope and is looking to be inspired and motivated," she said.

Anybody interested in donating toward Silva's documentary can visit www.kickstarter.com and search for "Dare to be Remarkable: Living with SMA."