By: Chelsea Brunette
A local documentary directed by an Algonquin graduate, starring deaf and blind athlete and Paralympics hopeful, Kevin Frost, raised $21,000 on its opening night.
Blind Ambition, directed by Patrick Decelles, a graduate of Algonquin’s television broadcast program, premiered on Oct. 18 at the Mayfair Theatre and over 100 guests attend. The documentary follows Frost as he tries to make speedskating a sanctioned sport in the Paralympics. All proceeds raised will go toward helping other impaired skaters achieve dreams similar to Frost’s.
Frost has Ushers Syndrome Type 2, which is a rare disorder where you lose your hearing at a young age and eventually your sight years later. Frost has 10 per cent hearing and eight per cent tunnel vision, but he didn’t let this stop him from being a workaholic and setting high goals. To date he has won 49 medals.
“When I was diagnosed, I got involved in short track speedskating and my dream is to open the Paralympics for speedskating, because they only have it for Special Olympics and able-body Olympics,” said Frost.
Frost first lost hearing when he was about nine years old and from that time until he was about 30 he was a referee. It was around this age that he lost his eyesight and was diagnosed with Ushers Syndrome. He lost his license and his job because of his condition.
“After I was diagnosed, when I hit rock bottom, I decided that I wanted to get back on the blade, because it’s something that I enjoyed being on, and speedskating is what I chose,” said Frost. “So that’s what I’ve continued my last 12 years of speedskating.”
Blind Ambition originally started as an eight-minute short film created by Decelles and his group for an assignment on an Ottawa community member, which is how he met Frost. Frost and his PR team ended up liking it so much they wanted to create a longer version of it. It took over a year of filming and interviews but Decelles said he felt like he achieved his goals and then some.
“It was basically a biography piece on Kevin, to get people to know who he is, what he has been doing and what he has been trying to do and I definitely felt it succeeded in doing that,” said Decelles. “It did a little bit more by focusing on also different parts of his life including Nemo, his [guide] dog is very important to him.”
Frost is a charismatic and overall happy person, despite his disabilities. He doesn’t let that affect who he is as a person and the goals he plans to achieve.
“He has that kind of sense of humour, that he knows he’s blind, he knows he’s deaf, but he’s not going to let that change who he is,” said Kristine Simpson, Frost’s publicist and a graduate of Algonquin’s public relations program. “And he’s going to continue to be that positive hard working person he was before.”
Frost said that if a person is open-minded and always tries changing negatives into positives anyone can make their dreams come true.
“Now dreams are not given on a silver platter, you’ll be going over huge hurdles to make it happen, but you got to find your way to get around it at all times. So never give up and at the end of the day you’ll see why it’s all worth it.”