Hartford, Connecticut | Film Short

Documentary, LGBTQ

David Gaynes

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $7,945 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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I Am Not Alone is the inspiring documentary portrait of Eric Jurado-Diaz, a 56-year old gay man, army veteran and father of three. After a life of challenges, Eric confronts the ultimate struggle head on: how to live fully despite an ALS diagnosis (often known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Eric's domestic lifestyle (8 years married, three children) is something his own gay self, growing up in Puerto Rico in the 70's, could never have imagined. Neither was a diagnosis of ALS. We want to show that fully embracing the life we've been given is a source of strength, relationship and joy.

The Story

I Am Not Alone tells the inspiring story of Eric Jurado-Diaz, a 56-year old veteran grappling with how to live following a diagnosis of ALS (often known as Lou Gehrig's Disease). This unique documentary film will poignantly capture Eric's journey toward acceptance, examining his resolve to live joyfully while embracing the new reality of a life with diminishing physical abilities.


Eric is one of approximately 5,000 people diagnosed every year with this cruel and incurable disease. The “ice-bucket challenge” was a cultural phenomenon that drew many people's attention to ALS; Most people have heard of Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking - who lived many years and enjoyed a distinguished career, despite his profound disability. What many people don't know is the more common story of an ALS diagnosis, which is moderate to rapid physical deterioration and often death within 2-5 years. Veterans are twice as likely to have ALS than the general population.


Eric in the Army


Rather than tell the story of the exceptional case, the beaten odds, we are trying to tell a more common, yet no less extraordinary story of ALS patients: how and where to find hope amid fear.

As Eric Jurado-Diaz says in the trailer, "It (ALS) will take me down eventually - but not today." Eric's stubborn and entertaining embrace of life has become an inspiration to those facing life-limiting illness and offers important lessons for his young sons along with the rest of us.


Eric is no stranger to difficulty. He has experienced prejudice and discrimination as an openly gay man. He made his status known to his commanding officer while serving in the military during the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era. Eric and his husband Luis, have been foster parents to many children with challenging lives of their own, finally adopting three sons they raise together with support from their friends, family and faith community.


Eric and his family


In 2017 Eric was diagnosed with ALS. Determined not to let the news become his life's defining narrative, Eric set out on a journey to address his personal bucket list - a list in constant flux given his daily battle with pain and decreasing mobility.


Eric during a sleep study


This 10-15 minute biopic, captured in cinema-verite style by accomplished filmmaker David Gaynes, provides an intimate look into one man's journey to experience life to its fullest and to connect with others - undeterred by prejudice, illness, rejection, and hardship. Eric's unique sense of humor brings us along for the ride - whether it's a skydive, walk with angels, or traveling the road of struggle and joy in daily life.

Eric and Tim Elwell, President and CEO of Qualidigm


“I Am Not Alone” explores Eric's journey and speaks to the beauty and fragility of human experience - greeting with reverence both the wonderful and awful things that can befall us in life.



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Costs $5,000

Full-time editor to begin working on this project daily for a period of five weeks.


Costs $500

Professional Sound mix for film festivals and distribution

DCP Mastering

Costs $500

Professional playback format for film festivals

Film Festival Costs and Expenses

Costs $1,000

Applying to and managing film festival expenses

Motion Graphics/VFX Production

Costs $1,500

Visual Effects to bring our subjects social media posts to life in cinematic form

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

David Gaynes is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with three critically-praised features in distribution. His work focuses on ordinary people amid extraordinary circumstance and attempts to do so with earnestness and reverence. NEXT YEAR JERUSALEM (2014, Netflix / First Run Features) follows a group of frail, elderly seniors on the last trip of their lives. SAVING HUBBLE (2012, Hulu / Cinema Purgatorio) is the story of the Hubble Space Telescope’s surprise rebirth. KEEPER OF THE KOHN (2005, Hulu / SnagFilms) examines the relationship between an older, autistic man and his terminally ill friend. David was one of 30 filmmakers from around the world invited to contribute a short documentary segment to the collage film SACRED (2017, WNET/PBS) by Academy Award winning director Thomas Lennon. David is a working cinematographer and editor, having collaborated on dozens of documentary films over the past fifteen years.


Julia Portale has worked with David Gaynes on short film pieces highlighting the beauty and meaning of end-of-life experiences through patient, family and caregiver story-telling. She worked with Eric Jurado-Diaz at Qualidigm until his retirement due to ALS, and has been inspired by his life story and entertaining embrace of life. Her day job is working to improve the quality of - and access to - care for vulnerable populations. She lives with her husband Cam, children Emma, Alex and Lily, and their dog Rory.

Susan Gendreau has worked at Qualidigm for 25 years where she met film subject Eric Jurado-Diaz. Her work on the project as an associate producer is integral to event planning, marketing and fundraising. She lives with her husband Scott and their dog Kobe.

Bruce Pfrommer runs Pfrommer Ondesign, a graphic and marketing design consultancy. He lives with his wife and their children Lauryn and Liam in the Colorado foothills.



Shari Lucas and her husband Paul run Lucas Boy Productions which produced TV pilot “Pain in the Family”, trailer for “Boys in Blood”, and developed a trial run for reality show “Jail Break." Also a close friend of subject Eric Jurado-Diaz, she is dedicating to promoting his story and keeping him laughing (on and off camera).

Current Team