On January 8, 2011, a gunshot to the head almost permanently silenced former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. But Giffords refused to back down from her mission of public service. Working with speech-language pathologist Fabi Hirsch, PhD, over the past decade, Gabby Giffords has regained her ability to speak and today uses her voice to advocate for gun safety and for the two million Americans living with aphasia. This recovery journey is chronicled in the new documentary Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, in theaters this week. From the directors of RBG and Julia, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down tells Giffords’ story, according to an announcement from Friends of Aphasia.
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As the result of the gunshot wound suffered while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby Giffords struggles with a communication disorder called aphasia, which robs individuals of the ability to speak, understand language, read, and/or write. As Hirsch explains in the film, and as Giffords demonstrates, aphasia does not affect intelligence; it affects the ability to effectively communicate.
Although over 2 million people in the United States are living with aphasia, almost 85% of Americans say they have never heard the word. To combat the lack of awareness and limited speech therapy services for people living with aphasia, in 2017, Gabby Giffords and Hirsch joined forces to form a nonprofit organization—Friends of Aphasia—dedicated to advocating and providing services for those impacted by aphasia.
As highlighted in the documentary and previously on PBS Newshour, Giffords continues to work with Hirsch to recover her language and communication skills. From the early days of her recovery in which she was able to say only “what” and “chicken” to delivering a speech viewed by millions at the Democratic National Convention, Giffords personifies “courage, perseverance, and her own motto of ‘moving ahead.’” She was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For more information or support the work of Friends of Aphasia, please visit: https://friendsofaphasia.com/ or email [email protected].
Fabi and Gabby on aphasia: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1161437811277283&id=100044501586809&_rdr
Source: Friends of Aphasia
Images: Friends of Aphasia