Michelle Kats has been fighting renal kidney failure for the greater part of her young life. Throughout her medical battle the eighteen year old has become a teacher and an advocate for other children who are or will be experiencing kidney transplants and dialysis. Michelle’s wish was to continue her legacy by chronicling her life experiences in a video documentary. She recently completed that Documentary Define Normal with the help of the Make A Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and VideoLink.
The Make A Wish foundation contacted VideoLink in early 2006 to inquire about the feasibility of Michelle’s wish. “This wish was quite unique; it wasn’t a trip to Disneyworld or meeting a member of the Red Sox or Patriots; it was the first wish of its kind for the Make A Wish foundation”, said Lauren Cotter, Wish Program Manager. VideoLink owners, Gina Chudnow and Doug Weisman were more than happy to donate all the resources in order to help make this a television worthy documentary and provide Michelle with an experience she would never forget.
Many VideoLink employees touched this project in order to make Michelle’s wish come true. Lauren Murgia, the VideoLink producer of the documentary, Define Normal, was immediately inspired by Michelle’s ability to communicate her thoughts, selflessness and desire to help and inspire others. Lauren provided great motivation to Michelle, helping her with interviews, script writing and teaching her about the video production process. VideoLink camera crews went to Michelle’s home, the children’s dialysis unit at Children’s Hospital, and Doctor’s offices to conduct interviews and get an up-close glimpse of Michelle’s life. The VideoLink team of volunteers were all motivated in their own way to help make Michelle’s wish come true. VideoLink’s editor for Define Normal, Casey McGee, had participated in a wish to an ill family member several years ago. That positive experience provided his inspiration to give back. From the producing and scripting to the editing, these volunteers were vested in the completion of Define Normal. “Michelle had no problem expressing her feelings in front of the camera whether in the studio reading a teleprompter or from her hospital bed. She deserves most of the credit for her ability to pull this off,” stated Howard Miller, VideoLink’s President.
On October 21st, 2008 Michelle premiered her documentary, Define Normal, in the presence of over fifty friends, fellow patients, relatives, doctors and nurses at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Michelle was extremely excited to be able to present this video to her audience.
“We felt this opportunity was our calling. It was uplifting and rewarding to be a part of Michelle’s wish. Michelle is truly inspirational” expressed VideoLink’s Lauren Murgia, producer of Define Normal.
VideoLink was extremely pleased to play a role in this Make A Wish project. The participation in this project meant so much to VideoLink and it employees but most importantly what it meant to Michelle and her legacy.
VideoLink, headquartered in Newton, MA, is a leading provider of broadcast and transmission services to major worldwide networks and corporations. Its newest division, VLCreative, offers a variety of creative marketing services, including marketing communications, customized video solutions, and event production. VideoLink is also uniquely positioned to provide effective corporate communications using its ReadyCam®, a custom, remotely-operated studio that can be installed in your office, conference room or location of choice, and its multi-camera, live-shot studio facilities located in Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore. VideoLink also operates mobile satellite uplink trucks covering the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. VideoLink was named #60 to the Top 100 Companies in Media on Inc.com’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list for 2007.