Living with a genetic disease is indeed challenging. It can leave one with painful symptoms and depression. Still, Chris Calabrese knows that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. And so, despite being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 2016, Chris did not let his disease define who he is and what he can achieve.
Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. As he was diagnosed at an early age, Chris Calabrese did not feel the extent of how his symptoms could affect his dreams until he got older. He realized that he would have to fight countless battles every day to live a normal life. Aside from how his disease affected his mobility, Chris also suffered tremendously in terms of mental health.
“I was constantly feeling tired, not being able to eat because of depression, and just having thoughts that I’m useless,” said Chris Calabrese. Muscular dystrophy has taken its toll on him, and it drained his confidence to do what people his age would usually do. The days of constant pain and sickness sometimes made him suicidal. His condition also made him question why he is still alive and what’s left for him to do amid a life with regular therapy sessions and medications. In questioning his capabilities, Christopher found filmmaking as the answer to express his creativity and inspired him to keep moving forward.
Chris Calabrese first held a camera at 13 years old. Despite his young age, he was determined to learn the ropes and the technicalities of filmmaking. What began as a fun activity with friends soon turned into a career venture. Christopher decided to make a big purchase to buy a camera, invest in editing software to produce professional videos, and taught himself the basics of making a film.
For over five years, Chris Calabrese has been continually creating content for his YouTube channel. Producing videos and growing his skills as a content maker makes him happy and motivated to push himself to new limits. Recently, with his long-time friend named Chris Nudo, Chris made a movie called Stay At Home. Even during the pandemic, Chris and his friend managed to put out an entertaining film for people to watch and enjoy, as it streams for free on YouTube.
For Chris Calabrese, creating films with his friends is the ultimate distraction to escape his sadness and depression. But more importantly, film paved the way for him to maximize his potential. Chris realized that having muscular dystrophy made him even stronger over time and motivated him to make a name in the film industry because not many content creators have the same background.
Asked what he envisions for his brand to go, Chris Calabrese said: “I really want to make a movie about my disease and how I’ve grown as an individual because I think it would be really inspiring for those that also have muscular dystrophy or are struggling with mental health.” The filmmaker wants his movies to uplift as much as it entertains people. Chris strives to make films that are relatable for viewers across the globe. He dreams of uniting people worldwide through his movies, inspiring millions, and making them believe that anything is possible.
“Every day I wake up grateful for this life because life is precious and I have a lot of things to look forward to,” said Chris Calabrese. Filmmaking has pivoted his life and allowed him to grow past his disease and be a beacon of hope for others to strive to thrive beyond the odds of their lives.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.