Over the past 20+ years, a progressive neuromuscular disease has slowly taken away Justin’s ability to use his arms and legs. From each morning until night, Justin requires daily assistance in every aspect of life such as eating, getting dressed, bathing and even using the restroom.
Though immensely challenging, Justin continues to live life to the fullest and maintains a positive attitude through it all!
In the spring of 2012, Justin learned about the Camino de Santiago while watching Rick Steves on Public Access TV. Soon after, Justin asked his lifelong friend, Patrick, what he thought about tackling the ancient pilgrimage. Patrick's response was simple and direct. He said, “I’ll push you.”
Two years later, they started their journey and had absolutely no idea how they would make the 500 miles from the southwest of France to the Cathedral in Santiago; over several mountain ranges like the Pyrenees, through rivers, and across the vast “desert of Spain" called the Meseta… they just knew they had to get there.
Justin and Patrick had to rely on the help and strength of friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers in order to navigate the many challenges they faced on their 35-day journey.
Since returning from Spain, they have used their heartfelt storytelling to share the comical details of their journey… the joys, the struggles, the beautiful relationships, and the lessons they learned in faith, hope, love, and friendship.
Their goal with this film is for others to walk away recognizing each life is not defined by its limitations but is defined by what is accomplished in spite of those limitations.
In addition to their efforts with the film I'll Push You, Justin and Patrick founded Push Inc. where they help organizations and individuals realize they can achieve more, together.
Both men love road trips, music, and driving their wives crazy.
Justin lives in Eagle, Idaho with his wife Kirstin and their three children: Jaden, Noah, and Lauren.
Patrick lives in nearby Meridian, Idaho with his wife Donna and their three children: Cambria, Joshua, and Olivia.CLICK HERE TO VISIT PUSH INC
The history of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela dates back to the ninth century to the discovery of the body of the apostle St. James. Scholars believe St. James was a great evangelist in Spain at the time during the reign of King Alfonso II (792-842).
Gradually, people started making their way to Santiago to pay homage to St. James at the Cathedral which was built over the site of the tomb. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the pilgrimage became more established and more popular.
In the last 30 years, in particular, there has been a huge growth and interest in the number of pilgrims traveling on foot, by bike, on horseback, or in our case, by wheelchair!
Although originally known as a Catholic pilgrimage, the Camino now attracts people of all faiths and backgrounds: from atheists to Buddhists, adventurers to mourners, college students to retired friends. Regardless of background, all who take this pilgrimage are transformed in some way. Letting go of the distractions of the world allows each pilgrim to embrace the beauty of the Camino. The communal nature of the pilgrimage leaves many pursuing an existence grounded in deeper human connection.
Below is a map of the "Camino Frances" (or The French Way), the route we took.
I'll Push You is a story of friendship and love, a story of hope and sacrifice, a story that explores the raw, deep human condition and the connections we all long for. The Camino de Santiago serves as a backdrop to the lives of Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray. I'll Push You provides insight into what it means to live for one another, what it means to overcome limitations, and what it means to push one another toward who we each long to be.
At first glance, this story appears to be an adventure tackling a physical challenge in order to fulfill the dream of a man who lives life from a wheelchair. The reality of I'll Push You is there are many ways we can push one another. Justin's perspective on life and the way in which he lives it pushes Patrick beyond his fears and doubts. Join us as we discover what it means to let go of safety and what it means to rest completely in faith.
emota is a video agency and production studio that exists to tell heartfelt and distinctly human stories. Founded in 2009 by Chris Karcher and Terry Parish to make great art and help companies sell stuff – emota has always been about using commonly experienced feelings as a primary guide to interpreting life around us, making film products and, ultimately, discovering the meaning of those products.CLICK HERE TO VISIT EMOTA
Terry Parish began his career in 1996 as a graphic designer before turning to video content and broadcast commercial direction and production when he co-founded emota, inc – a San Diego-based video agency – in 2009. He’s written, directed and produced semi-documentary & marketing content for brands all over the world, like Blue Buffalo, Charlotte Russe, Citrix, Dockers, eBay, Levi’s, Petco, Qualcomm, Sony, and Tempur-Pedic. I’ll Push You is his directorial, film debut. The experience of the Camino provided him the opportunity to share his heart about his hope for friendship, the challenges of generosity and vulnerability, and our ultimate need for the healing power of community.
With an absolute lust for adventure and ski film, Mike may seem an unlikely candidate as a videographer for I'll Push You. However, Mike immediately resonated with the story and what we were trying to accomplish with this documentary. His work ethic, adventuresome spirit and eye for photography helped bring the story of I'll Push You to life.
Jasper, another ski videographer, was up for the challenge of filming I'll Push You. Hailing from Seattle (or wherever you might find him working i.e. the Caribbean or Japan), he learned of the project 48 hours before filming commenced. Hopping on a plan and traveling halfway around the world, Jasper provided a beautiful eye and a sense of Zen in stressful times.
French/Bosnian Robin Romera, AKA "Fixer", joined us from Paris, France. Robin's fascination with film, affinity for solving the most difficult problems, love of adventure, and absolutely hilarious storytelling, kept things moving forward, even in the face of adversity. He was our translator and had all of us smiling and laughing each and every day!