Photographer documents father’s experience with paralysis

One day, Kitra Cahana’s father went from being able to move and speak with ease, to being completely paralyzed with the exception of his eyes. Ronnie Cahana’s condition is known as ‘locked-in syndrome’, the result of a stroke. His only form of communication became slowly spelling out words by listening as friends and family recited the alphabet, and blinking when they’d reached the desired letter. Yet, according to his daughter, Ronnie, already a rabbi and deeply spiritual man, used the ordeal to “slow down” and reflect on his life and his body. Through family members willing to spend hours being his voice, Ronnie wrote poetry and offered advice and guidance to visitors. In the TedTalk below, Kitra, also a talented photographer, describes her perception of her father’s ordeal, and her attempts to document his experience – not only Ronnie’s stay in the hospital, but his more ephemeral, spiritual growth as well. More of Kitra’s work can be viewed here.

This video may begin with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of DisAbility Rights Galaxy.

Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.