NEW YORK (CNS) — The newsmagazine 48 Hours and the documentary series NY Med are among 20 Christopher Awards winners announced April 21 by the Christophers, which is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity.
The awards, to be conferred at a May 13 ceremony in New York, are presented to writers, producers, directors, authors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.
The James Keller Award, named after the Christophers’ founder, will be presented to Patrick Donohue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation. The award recognizes individuals who put their faith into action and change the world for the better.
Donohue’s newborn daughter Sarah Jane was shaken so violently by a hospital nurse that the baby lost 60 per cent of the rear cortex of her brain. After researching ways she and other children like her could be helped and treated, Donohue helped launch the International Academy of Hope, making it the first and only school for kids with brain injuries and brain-based disorders in New York City.
NY Med will be given the Christopher Spirit Award, for individuals or projects that exemplify the Christopher motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” The series focuses on health care professionals and their patients at New York City’s Presbyterian Hospital and University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.
The Christophers called the show “riveting television with heart-pounding moments that can rival any action series. And by highlighting simple ideals like love, service, and gratitude, it provides a vital prescription to heal viewers’ spirits from some of the hopelessness and darkness in the world.”
Winners of Christopher Awards come in four different categories, films, TV programs, books for adults and books for young people.
Film winners were:
— The American Nurse, which offers an in-depth portrait of five nurses whose empathy and selflessness lead them to serve those dealing with miscarriage, aging, war, poverty and prison life.
— Selma, the story of the march on Selma, Alabama, for voting rights, a watershed moment in the American civil rights movement.
— St. Vincent, in which a 12-year-old schoolboy makes a case for sainthood for his curmudgeonly neighbour, in whom the boy sees goodness despite his smoking, drinking, cursing and cavorting with a prostitute.
TV winners were:
— 48 Hours: The Whole Gritty City, which profiles New Orleans music programs that channel students’ energies away from the streets and into positive directions.
— The Flash, the TV version of the DC Comics series that allows a man to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a hero after a science experiment goes awry.
— The Gabby Douglas Story, which highlights the roles that faith, family and perseverance played in the gold medal-winning gymnast’s journey to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
— POV: When I Walk, in which filmmaker Jason DaSilva chronicles his own debilitation after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 25, along with the love of his wife, Alice, who has helped him endure.
— Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler, which followed military veterans injured during wartime to seek physical, emotional and spiritual healing in the waters of Lourdes, France.
— Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas, the story of four postal detectives who try to answer a little girl’s letter to God while dealing with emotional wounds from their own pasts.
Winners in the category of books for adults were:
— Fully Alive, in which Special Olympics chair Timothy Shriver reveals why people with intellectual disabilities have been his greatest teachers in life, giving him a more meaningful way of seeing the world.
— Haatchi & Little B, in which a boy with a rare genetic disorder and a disabled puppy, abused and left for dead, transform each other’s lives.
— The Invisible Front, in which a decorated Army officer combats the stigma of suicide and mental illness both in society and the Army.
— Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Jesuit Father James Martin’s account of his visit to the Holy Land, inviting readers to encounter the Christ of history and the Christ of faith.
— A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley’s own story of getting lost on a train in India at age five, living on the streets for a year, being adopted by an Australian couple, and finally reconnecting with his Indian family 25 years later with help from Google Earth.
— Mercy in the City, Kerry Weber’s memoir on living out the corporal works of mercy on both coasts of the United States.
Books for young people winners, by age group:
— I Forgive You, by author Nicole Lataif and illustrator Katy Betz, preschool and up.
— Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt, illustrated by Vin Vogel, kindergarten and up.
— Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, ages 6 and up.
— Hope Springs by Eric Walters, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, ages 8 and up.
— Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big, Fat Quitter by Carmella Van Vleet, ages 10 and up.