Holly Ward never spoke, but her voice still lives on thanks to Rachel Ferro, who was a documentary studies and production major at Ithaca College. Ferro documented the last year of Holly’s life in Tell Me the Day Backwards, a feature-length film that chronicles the young girl’s battle with Tay-Sachs disease and her parents’ healing process after Holly died earlier this year at the age of two.
One screening of Tell Me the Day Backwards raised over $1,200 for the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Foundation. Ferro plans to continue raising funds, and she plans to continue making documentaries that not only explore the lives of people going through extraordinary experiences but that also address the taboos and fears that exist around death and dying. For now, though, she’s happy that her work has made an impact on the Wards’ lives. “The most rewarding part was watching the film with Holly’s parents in their home,” she said. “Knowing how much the project means to them is reward enough.”
Rachel is now the lead editor and cinematographer at Photosynthesis, where she works on documentaries such as Re: Thinking on American Education for PBS.